Sunday, March 3, 2024

Alleged N32.9bn Fraud: EFCC re-arraigns Mompha

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, re-arraigned social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha, in a Federal High Court Lagos, for alleged N32.9billion fraud.

Mompha was first arraigned by the commission on 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He was arraigned alongside his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.

The EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court of a second amended charge against the defendant and urged the court to allow a fresh plea by the defendant.

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The amended 22 count charges were read over to the defendant and he pleaded not guilty.

After his plea, defence counsel Mr Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him study the new charge.

He told the court that he had only seen the new charge a few minutes ago before the court commenced sitting and consequently, urged the court to allow him study same.

Justice Mohammed Liman ordered that the defendant’s bail of N100 million continues.

Following the agreement of parties, the court adjourned the case until March 18 for the continuation of trial.

So far in the trial, the commission had called witnesses from commercial banks, CBN as well as the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML),

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

The Prosecution alleged that Mompha laundered the sum through Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.

Both defendants were alleged to have negotiated foreign exchange transactions in various sums like N9.4million, N20 million, N10.4 million, N2.4million, N100million, N61million, N40.7million, N42million among others.

Mompha was alleged to have aided the Ismalob to retain an aggregate sum of N14billion in its account, which was procured from Pitacalize Ltd.

He said the offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15(2) and 18(3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.2011 as amended.

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