Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Alleged N6bn laundering: Mompha traveled to Dubai with new passport- EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, told an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Friday that the social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha (alias Mompha) flouted the court order and traveled to Dubai with a new international passport.

Mr Mompha is charged with with N6 billion money laundering by EFCC.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the court had on March 28, ordered Mompha to submit his international passport to court after   his bail sum was reduced from N200 million to N25 million

EFCC, had on Jan.12, charged Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, with six billion Naira money laundering

The eight-count charge include conspiracy to launder money obtained through unlawful activities, and laundering of money obtained through unlawful activities.

The other charges include retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, use of property derived from unlawful act, possession of document containing false pretences and failure to disclose assets.

On Friday, the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court that the parties did not come to a conclusion, added that the defendant hired an Emirate Airline and traveled to Abuja after he had submitted his international passport on the order of the court.

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Mr Oyedepo said: “My lord granted bail to the defendant and ordered him to submit his International Passport.

“The commission is not the only one on this matter and we had from a good authority that the defendant has a passport with No. D50084304 which was issued in Abuja on July 2021 and is to expire on June 30, 2031.

“From the information by our partner, the defendant had on April 11 hired emirate and flew from Ghana to Dubai. That passport is not the one submitted to this honourable court my lord.

“The defendant did not travel through Nigeria. The issue now is that the defendant has a new passport at hand which he traveled with after my lord restrict him from traveling,”

The Defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, however, objected to the submission of the prosecution and argued that EFCC should write to the Nigeria Immigration to ascertain the claim.

Mr Oyewole said: “I have spoken with the prosecution concerning this my lord. When he called, I told him that there was a particular person who was our surety that was supposed to pay the N25 million.

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“His account was frozen when the money got into his account. The man called the defendant and for the defendant’s safety, he told the man that he had traveled. But the man has connection and concluded that the defendant has defiled the court order.

“My lord, the EFCC should write to Immigration to ascertain if my client really traveled out of the country or not.

“This is a superior court of record sir and I suggest that an application be brought concerning this because there is a lot of confusion here. We should have it on record my lord.

“Let Immigration respond if another passport exists. The residency visa that he has to live in Dubai is already submitted in court so there is no way he can enter the country,”

NAN reports a photocopy of the passport was shown to the defendant and he denied the signature on it.

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EFCC counsel thereafter urged their court to stand down the case for ten minutes so as to discuss with the defence counsel.

The defence counsel, thereafter, urged the court to grant him one week verify the claim of the prosecution.

“We have had discussions within ourselves and also spoke with the prosecution.

In the interest of justice, we have agreed with the prosecution to give me one week to verify the truth. I need to verify the truth my lord,” Mr Oyewole said.

The prosecution did not object the submission of the defence counsel.

NAN reports that on June 2, the court had fixed June 10, to take final report on plea bargain of the defendant.

The prosecution had informed the court on April 6 that both parties were in the process of plea bargain, and prayed the court for adequate time.

Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case until June 16 for further consideration on bail application and ordered the defendant to be in the custody of the defence counsel.


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