N32.95B Money Laundering: Court Orders Mompha To Open Defence
Story By Gbenga Ogunbufunmi
A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided over by Justice Mohammed Liman today dismissed the no- case application filed by an internet celebrity , Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha, currently facing a 22 count criminal charge bothering on money laundering.
The court consequently directed him to open his defence.
Justice Mohammed Liman in his ruling on the no-case- submission 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 the defendants to give explanation.
The judge therefore, called on Mustapha and his co- defendant, Ismalob Global Investment Limited to open their defence.
The EFCC, in an amended 22 counts charge, had alleged that between 2015 and 2018, Mompha procured Ismalob Global Investment Limited to retain an aggregate of N32.95bn in its bank account.
The anti- graft agency said he ought to have reasonably known that the funds formed parts of proceeds of an unlawful act; to wit: fraud.
The EFCC in the charge 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 the huge single lodgments and transfers such as N104.8m, N135m, N20m, N150m, N22.3m, N100m and N42m.
The anti- graft agency 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 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. But Mompha and his company , have both pleaded not guilty.