Court Adjourns Mompha Trial To February 26

Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday adjourned the ongoing trial of internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha (alias Mompha), accused of laundering N33 billion, to February 26.

Justice Liman adjourned the case after the fourth prosecution witness, Matthew Enu-Obun concluded his testimony.

Mompha was docked before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on a 14-counts charge of fraud, money laundering and operation of a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The defendant was arraigned alongside a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.

EFCC accused the defendant of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Ltd. and retaining in its account, an aggregate sum of N32.9 billion between 2015 and 2018.

Read Also: N32.9bn Fraud: Court Remands Mompha’s Lebanese Associate In Prison

He pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was granted bail by Justice Liman in the sum of N100 million with one surety in like sum.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo continued examination of Enu-Obun.

Enu-Obun, a staff of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), told that no reports was made to SCUML on the transaction conducted on the defendant account between December 14, 2015 and January 25, 2018.

The witness claimed that, from available records, the said transactions were never reported to SCUML by the company, Ismalo Global Investment Limited the second defendant.

When Oyedepo asked the witness who signed Exhibit C (a reply to the investigation activities on the defendant), he answered, “I signed it.”

Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), the witness told the court that he had been with SCUML since 2006.

He said that he worked in the compliance department and had steadily got promoted up to the position of a principal compliance officer.

Oyewole then asked the witness, “So, you have never been in the operations department?”

The witness replied, “No.”

When asked the full meaning of DNFI, the witness said that it stood for Designated Non Financial Institutions.

According to him, they are categories of businesses which are designated such as casinos, supermarkets, chartered accountants and lawyers.

In the charge, prosecution alleged that the defendants were alleged to have negotiated foreign exchange transactions in various sums such as N9.4 million, N20 million, N10.4 million, N2.4million, N100 million, N61 million, N40.7 million and N42 million, among others.

Mompha was alleged to have aided the Ismalob to retain in its account, an aggregate sum of N14 billion procured from Pitacalize Ltd.

The alleged offences contravene the provisions of sections 15(2) and 18(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended.

20th June 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph