EFCC Resumes Trial of Mompha in Absentia before Special Offences Court

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has resumed the trial of a social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, known as Mompha, before Justice Mojisola Dada of a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos with the continuation of the testimony of the prosecution’s second witness, Elijah Adegboye, a compliance officer with Access Bank.

The Commission had on January 12, 2022, arraigned Mompha alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy to launder funds obtained through unlawful activity, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, laundering of funds obtained through unlawful activity, failure to disclose assets and property, possession of documents containing false pretence and use of property derived from an unlawful act.

One of the counts reads: “Ismaila Mustapha, Ahmadu Mohammed (at large), and Ismalob Global Investment Limited, sometime in 2016, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to conduct financial transactions to the tune of N5,998,884,653.18 ( Five Billion Nine Hundred and Ninety-eight Million Eight Hundred and Eighty-four Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty-three Naira Eighteen Kobo), with the intent of promoting the carrying on of specified unlawful activities to wit: obtaining by false pretence.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

The EFCC had, at the proceedings of June 10, 2022, informed the court that Mompha had another passport aside from the one submitted to the court, as part of his bail conditions and that he had used the same to travel from Ghana to Dubai on April 11, 2022, via Emirates Airlines in violation of the court order.

Consequently, Justice Dada revoked the N25 million bail variations granted to him and also issued a bench warrant for his arrest over his failure to appear in court.

The EFCC had also declared him wanted as he repeatedly failed to attend his trial.

Justice Dada had, on September 22, 2022, ordered that the trial would continue in absentia.

At the resumption of the trial, Mompha was again not in court as the trial continued.

Continuing with his examination-in-chief, Adegboye, led in evidence by EFCC Counsel, Sani Suleiman confirmed that the bank received an investigation letter from the EFCC, which was part of an investigation into the alleged offence with which the defendant was charged in court.

He told the court that in compliance with the request of the EFCC, the bank furnished the anti-graft agency with the requested documents.

He thereafter identified the said response of the bank to EFCC, which was a bundle of documents that included the statement of account of one Naptown Records.

He said: “I confirm that the various entries stated in this statement of account are as contained in the bank’s database

“The process of the production of this document is in the normal process of business and the computer and printer used were in a functional state as at the time the documents were generated.”

Thereafter, the prosecutor applied to tender the bundle of documents in evidence against the defendant.

There was no objection from the defence counsel, Kolawole Salami.

The bundle of documents was thereafter admitted as an exhibit against Mompha.

Under cross-examination by Salami, the witness confirmed that he was a compliance officer with the bank and had more than a decade of experience working with the bank.

He testified further under cross-examination that: “Access Bank engages in a lawful business and is a lawful corporate organization.”

Earlier in the course of proceedings, the court had notified both parties that “the file has been retrieved on the persuasion of the defence” and had been forwarded to the Chief Justice of the Court, about a month ago, following “a letter from someone from the defence”.

Salami, who expressed surprise at the development, however, refuted the existence of such a letter.

“The letter did not emanate from us,” Salami said.

Justice Dada queried: “So where did it emanate from; from the prosecution?”

“We’ll look into it, but we never wrote any such letter,” Salami said.

Wahab Akinlade

Akinlade I. WAHAB is a dedicated journalist and the proprietor of I-WAHAB Media. He embarked on his career at Murhi International TV (MiTV) and subsequently joined Radio Nigeria as a Judicial Correspondent.With a profound interest in legal reporting, he currently holds the positions of Chairman at the National Association of Judicial Correspondents (NAJUC), Ikeja Branch, and Chairman at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Radio Nigeria Chapel.As the owner of I-WAHAB Media, he has successfully established Top Court News, a platform renowned for providing comprehensive coverage of court cases and legal developments, with the aim of promoting transparency within the judicial system.Akinlade's diligent work and unwavering commitment to ethical reporting have earned him immense respect within the Nigerian journalism community.

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