Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday, May 15, 2023, has adjourned till July 3, 2023, further hearing in the alleged N6 bn fraud trial involving Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, due to the absence of his lawyer.
The spokesperson for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Wilson Uwujaren, revealed in a correspondence obtained by our correspondent on Monday night.
Uwujaren noted that the Lagos Zonal Command of the EFCC, 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, with the intent of promoting the carrying on of specified unlawful activities to wit: obtaining by false pretence.”
However, Mompha pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The spokesperson for the EFCC further noted that the e EFCC had, at the proceedings of June 10, 2022, informed the court that Mompha was in possession of another passport aside from the one submitted to the court, as part of his bail conditions and that he had used same to travel from Ghana to Dubai on April 11, 2022, via Emirates Airlines in violation of the court order.
Uwujaren said, “Consequently, Justice Dada had revoked the N25 million bail variation 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. However, since June 16, 2022, Mompha has absconded from the trial, even as the EFCC continued with efforts to secure his arrest and appearance in court.
“Following his continued absence in court and the inability of the prosecution as well as the defence to produce him in court, Justice Dada had, on September 22, 2022, ordered that the trial would continue in absentia.
“At Monday’s proceedings, the counsel for the EFCC, S.I. Suleiman, informed the court that the prosecution, in collaboration with its international partners, had secured the arrest of the defendant.”
Suleiman said, “We would like to bring to the knowledge of my lord that, in collaboration with our international partners, we have been able to apprehend him, and we plan to take him into custody and produce him before the court,”
He also told the court that the counsel for the defendant “reached out to me seeking an adjournment that he would be absent today.”
Justice Dada adjourned the matter till Monday, July 3, 2023, for the continuation of trial. (Punch)