Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday dismissed the no-case submission application filed by internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha also known as, Mompha, seeking to stop his money laundering trial.
Justice Liman in his ruling held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had established a prima facie case against Mompha so directed him to open his defence.
The judge held “from the totality of the evidence and testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, I am convinced that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the defendants which would warrant the them to give some explanation.
The EFCC arraigned the defendant and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited before the court on 22-counts amended charge of allegedly laundering N32.95bn.
The anti-graft agency had specifically accused the 0defendant of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Limited to retain an aggregate of N32.95bn in its bank account between 2015 and 2018.
The commission claimed that he ought to have reasonably known that the funds formed parts of proceeds of an unlawful act to wit: fraud.
The EFCC also alleged that Mompha’s company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, as a designated non-financial institution, failed to report to the EFCC within seven days huge single lodgments and transfers such as N104.8 million, N135 million, N20 million, N150 million, N22.3 million, N100 million and N42 million.
The anti-graft agency further alleged that not being an authorised buyer of foreign exchange currency appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mompha negotiated several foreign exchange transactions with different individuals in the sums of N20 million, N22.3 million, N30 million, N100 million, and N40.7 million.
And also made cash cash payments of €299,000, €213,675, €273,000 to one Ahmed Sarki, said to be deceased.
These offences were said to be contrary to sections 18(c), 15(2)(d), 15(3), and Section 10 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act.
The offence also violated sections 5 and 29(1)(c) of the Foreign Exchange Monitoring and Miscellaneous (Provisions) Act Cap F34 LFN 2004.
Mompha and his company both pleaded not guilty to the charge.
However, instead of Mompha to open his defence against the charges, he opted for no-case-submission after the EFCC closed it case.