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Money Laundering: Court Orders Mompha To Open His Defence

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed the “no- case application” filed by an internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha.

Justice Mohammed Liman in his ruling on the “no-case application” held that from the totality of the evidence and testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the court is convinced that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the defendants which would warrant them to give an explanation.

The judge, therefore, called on Mustapha and his co-defendant to open their defence.

Mompha and his co-defendant, Ismalob Global Investment Limited are currently facing a 22 count criminal charge bordering on money laundering.

The EFCC had alleged that between 2015 and 2018, Mompha procured the company said to be owned by him, Ismalob Global Investment Limited to retain an aggregate of N32.95bn in its bank account.

The EFCC said he ought to have reasonably known that the funds formed parts of proceeds of an unlawful act of 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 of N104.8m, N135m, N20m, N150m, N22.3m, N100m and N42m.

“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 N20m, N22.3m, N30m, N100m, and N40.7m. And also made cash payments of €299,000, €213,675, €273,000 to one Ahmed Sarki, said to be deceased, the EFCC said”.

These offences are said to be contrary to Section 18(c), 15(2)(d), 15(3), and Section 10 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. And sections 5 and 29(1)(c) of the Foreign Exchange Monitoring and Miscellaneous (Provisions) Act Cap F34 LFN 2004.

But Mompha and his company pleaded not guilty to the charge.

During the trial, the EFCC called 10 witnesses and tendered several documents, which were admitted by the court.

At the end of the prosecution’s case, Mompha opted to file a no-case application instead of opening his defence.

His Counsel, Gboyega Oyewole SAN argued that despite calling 10 witnesses and tendering a load of documents, the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case against Mompha and his company.

But the EFCC counsel, S.I. Suleiman, opposed the submission and insisted that the agency had substantiated its allegations against them.

After listening to both parties, the court adjourned for its ruling.

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