The Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission, EFCC, on Monday, November 25, 2019 arraigned Ismaila Mustapha aka
Mompha, with his company, Ismalob Global Investments Limited before Justice
Muhammad Liman of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on a 14-count charge
bordering on cyber fraud and money laundering to the tune of N33 billion
(Thirty-three billion naira).
He was alleged to be a major figure
in an organised transnational cyber fraud network, where he was said to have
used Ismalob Investment Limited to launder the funds.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to
all the charges.
One of the charges contained an
allegation that Ismaila Mustapha had, between 2015 and 2018, procured Ismalob Investment Limited to retain
the aggregate sum of N18,059,353,413 (Eighteen Billion, Fifty-Nine Million,
Three Hundred and Fifty Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Thirteen Naira) in its
account No. 5260000846 domiciled in a new generation bank.
Another charge alleged that between
2015 and 2017 he used Ismalob Global Investment Limited to retain in the same
account, the aggregate sum of N14,946,773,393.00 (Fourteen Billion, Nine
Hundred and Forty-Six Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Three Thousand, Three
Hundred and Ninety Three Naira) received from Pitacalize Ltd.
The retention of the monies which are
reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful act, is contrary to 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.
After he has his plea, prosecuting
counsel, S.I. Suleman asked the court for a trial date and an order to remand
the defendant in a Correctional Centre, pending the determination of the case.
But, defence counsel, Gboyega
Oyewole, SAN, informed the court that an application for bail has been filed
and served on the prosecution, which the prosecution counsel confirmed, even
though he asked for time to review the application and respond.
Justice Liman, after listening to
both parties adjourned the case till November 29, 2019 for hearing of bail
application and commencement of trial, and ordered that the defendant be
remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Service custody.
In a related development, the arraignments
of Mompha’s associates, Kolade Phillip and Hamza Koudeih, have been shifted to November
28 as 2nd defendant’s counsel, Abdulhamid Mohammed told the court that he was
only informed of the arraignment earlier in the day and doesn’t have a copy of
the charge. He pleaded with the court for a short adjournment to enable him
study the charge and prepare his client before the plea is taken.
opposed the application, arguing that
the plea relevant to jurisdiction of court was not that of the counsel.
Disregarding the opposition of prosecution
counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Justice Hassan adjourned the matter until Thursday
November 28 for arraignment.