Mompha knows fate on seized properties 24 July

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till 24 July to hear an application by social media celebrity Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha, seeking the release of his properties seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to the EFCC, some of the items, including designer wristwatches, are the subject of the ongoing investigation.

Mompha is on trial for alleged N33 billion money laundering and cyber fraud charge.

He and his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, were on 4 March 2020 re-arraigned before Justice Mohammed Liman on 22 counts.

They were first arraigned on a 14-count count charge last 25 November, following his arrest on 19 October 2019, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

According to the anti-graft agency, the defendant is based in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Commission alleged that Mompha is a major figure in an organised transnational cyber fraud network, adding that he used Ismalob Investment to launder the funds, part of which he used in acquiring properties in Dubai.

Mompha pleaded not guilty and is out on bail.

At the proceeding, prosecution counsel Rotimi Oyedepo invited the defendant’s uncle, Alhaji Ahmadu Mohammed, as the EFCC’s 10th witness.

Mohammed testified that he and one other person are directors at Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, but that Mompha was the sole signatory to the firm’s account.

He said Mompha had 600,000 shares in the company while two other directors had 200,000 shares each.

He averred the company, which was registered in 2015, was not licensed to carry out Bureau De Change services and that all its transactions were facilitated by Mompha.

Mohammed also told the court that his job was to buy the Euro equivalent of the money sent to Mompha and send back the cash to the recipient, on Mompha’s directives.

During cross-examination by defence counsel Gboyega Oyewole SAN, the witness said there was no link between Ismalob Global Investment Limited and Mompha’s BDC, saying that the former is a separate company.

Afterward, Oyewole informed the court of his client’s application to retrieve some of his belongings in the EFCC’s custody.

The lawyer told the court that the application has been served on the prosecution.

He said while the EFCC had released some of the items, it was still holding on to some of his wristwatches.

In response, Oyedepo said most of the seized items are under investigation.

Justice Liman adjourned till 24 July, for the hearing of applications on the seized items.

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