Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos today deferred till December 9 2020 ruling on a no-case-submission filed by an internet personality, Ismaila Mustapha, a.k.a Mompha, against the money laundering allegations against him.
Justice Muhammad Liman, had initially fixed today, for the ruling on the application, but upon arrival of counsel to the prosecution, Mr. Abbas Mohammed and counsel to the defendant, Ademola Adefolaju, who holds the brief of Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), at the court today, they were informed that the ruling is yet to be ready and that the presiding judge, is on official assignment outside the court’s jurisdiction.
Consequently, the matter was adjourned till December 9, 2020, for ruling.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in an amended 22 counts charge, alleged that between 2015 and 2018, Mompha procured Ismalob Global Investment Limited to retain an aggregate of N32.95billion in its bank account.
The EFCC said he ought to have reasonably know that the funds formed parts of proceeds of an unlawful act; to wit: fraud.
The anti-graft agency 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 such as N104.8m, N135m, N20m, N150m, N22.3m, N100m and N42m made by the company.
The EFCC further stated that 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.
These offences were 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.
However, Mompha and his company , have both pleaded not guilty to the charges.
During the trial of the charge, the EFCC called 10 witnesses and tendered several documents, which were admitted by the court.
However, instead of Mompha to open his defence against the charges, he opted for a no-case-submission, which was filed and argued by his lawyer, Oyewole (SAN), who moved the court to dismiss the charges against his client.
Oyewole 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, vehemently opposed Oyewole’s request, while insisted that his agency had substantiated its allegations against them.