N33B Money Laundering: EFCC Calls Last Witness In Mompha’s Trial
By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
The last Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) witness, in the ongoing trial of social media influencer, Ismaila Mustapha, today, told Justice Muhammad Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos, that he is a director in the Ismalob Global Investment Limited, a company belonging to Ismaila.
Ismaila, popularly called Mompha, is standing trial before Justice Muhammed for allegedly laundering about N33 billion, through his firm, Ismalog Global Investment Limited.
Mompha and his company are facing a 14-count-charge bordering on operating BDC without registration with CBN and other regulating Ministries, failure to comply with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in carrying out and unlawful negotiation of foreign exchanged.
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.
He had pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
At the resumed hearing of Mompa’s trial today, the witness, Hamodu Muhammed, while being led-in-evidence by the Prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that he is an uncle to Mompha and that he is the second Director in Mompha’s company, while the third director is one Danjuma Muhammed.
The witness told the court that he and the third director both have 200, 000 shares in the company while Mompha has 600,000 shares.
Hamodu also told the court that the company which was registered in 2015, was not licensed to carry out Bureau De Change business and that all the transactions carried out by the company, were facilitated by Mompha.
During cross examination by Mompha’s lawyer, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) who led Kolawole Salami and Adefolaju Ademola, the witness told the court that all the transactions done by Mompha was through Mompha Bureau De Change, a company he told the court was established by Mompha’s late father, whom he said was his elder brother.
The witness also told the court that Mompha only used his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited as a facilitator of all the transactions done by Mompha Bureau De Change Services.
When asked about the query issued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to Mompha’s firm, the witness said he referred the query to the firm’s auditor, one Abiodun Audu, who responded to the query and that till today, FIRS has not make any response to the reply.
He also told the court that Mompha’s firm, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, was given commissions on any transactions it facilitated to Mompha Bureau De Change Services.
Upon the conclusion of the witness evidence, Mompha’s lawyer, Mr. Oyewole (SAN) notified the court of his client’s intention to file no-case-submission on the allegations.
Consequently, the court adjourned till October 14, for hearing of parties on the no-case-submission.
Prior, to the adjournment, Mompha’s lawyer, Mr. Oyewole (SAN), informed the court of his client’s application to retrieve some of his belongings in the custody of the EFCC.
Oyewole (SAN) told the court that the application has been served on the prosecution.
He also told the court that while the EFCC has released some of the items, it still holds on to some of his wristwatches.
In response, the EFCC lawyer, Oyedepo, while admitting been served with the application, said most of the seized items are still been subject to investigation.
Meanwhile, Justice Liman has adjourned till July 24, for hearing of applications on the seized items.
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”.