Court Fixes Nov. 29 For Trial Of Momphe Over Alleged N33B Money Laundering

* Internet Celebrity, Ismail Mustapha, popularly called Momphe,

 

 

By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi

 

 

A Federal High Court, Lagos, today, fixed Friday, November 29, for the commencement of trial of an Internet Celebrity, Ismail Mustapha, popularly called Momphe, for alleged laundering of over N18.. billion

The court presided over by Justice Muhammed Liman, fixed the date after Momphe had pleaded not guilty to 14 counts charge of money laundering, unauthorised Bureau de-Change (BDC) trading and failure to comply with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment rules in carrying out BDC operation.

Arraigning the de defendant in court today, the prosecuting agency through its lawyers, Rotimi Oyedepo and A. S. Sulaiman, informed the court that the defendant procured his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, to retained the aggregate some of N18, 059,353,413 billion between 2015 and 2019.

He was also alleged to aided his company to retained the sum of N14, 946, 773, 393 billon between 2015 and 2017. While he was also accused of not complying with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Federal Ministry of Trades and Investment in carrying out financial transactions.

He was also accused to have unlawfully negotiated a Foreign Exchange transaction with total sum of N630, 125, 900 million, for some individuals.

Those listed in the charge as those the defendant transacted business with are; Mr. Ikechukwu Kingsley Onuzulike; Mr. Ojei Osemike, Mr. Okafor lkenna and  M Tony Global Communications.

The offences according to the EFCC contravened sections 18(c) and 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act,2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

Following his plea of not guilty, the prosecutors, urged the court to remanded the defendant in prison custody while he also aasked the court to fix a date for trial.

Responding, the defendant lawyers, who include Mr. Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), Adebayo Ajidagba, Ademola Adefolaju and Kolawole Salami, told the court that they did not opposed the prosecution’s request for trial date, but said the defendant’s bail application has been filed and same has been served on the prosecution.

The prosecutors admitted been served with the application, but asked the court for a short date to respond.

Following the submissions of the parties, Justice Liman fixed Friday, 29, for hearing of the bail application and commencement of trial.

One of the counts reads: “that you lsmaila Mustapha and Ismalob Global Investments Limited, on or about the 17th day of December, 2015, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, not being an authorized seller appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria pursuant to Section 5(1) of Foreign Exchange Monitoring and Miscellaneous (Provisions) Act CAP F34 LFN 2004 negotiated a foreign exchange transaction in the sum of N9,416,700.00 (Nine Million Four Hundred and Sixteen Thousand Seven Hundred Naira) with Mr. Ikechukwu Kingsley Onuzulike and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 5 and 29(1)(c) of the Foreign Exchange Monitoring and Miscellaneous (Provisions) Act Cap F34 LFN 2004 and punishable under Section 29(2) of the same Act”.

Another count reads; “that you, lsmaila Mustapha and Ismalob Global investments Limited within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, sometimes being a Designated Non-Financial institution (“DNFI”) failed to comply with the requirements of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment a declaration of your activities as specified under section 5(1)1a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16(1) (b) of the same Act”.

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