Money Laundering: Court Grants Mompha N200m Bail

Mompha
Mompha

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, granted bail to Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, in the sum of N200m (Two Hundred Million Naira).

The Lagos Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had on Wednesday, January 12, 2022, arraigned Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy to launder funds obtained through unlawful activities, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, laundering of funds obtained through unlawful activities, failure to disclose assets and property, possession of documents containing false pretence and use of property derived from an unlawful act.

One of the counts reads: “Ismaila Mustapha, Ahmadu Mohammed (at large) and Ismalob Global Investment Limited, sometime in 2016 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to conduct financial transactions to the tune of N5,998,884,653.18 ( Five Billion Nine Hundred and Ninety-eight Million Eight Hundred and Eighty-four Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty-three Naira Eighteen Kobo), with the intent of promoting the carrying on of specified unlawful activity to wit: Obtaining by false pretence.”

Another count reads: “Ismaila Mustapha, on or about the 20th day of October 2019 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, failed to furnish any information in relation to your interest in expensive wristwatches and other movable assets: ROLEX OYSTER PERPETUAL WRISTWATCH, AUDEMARS PIGUET WRISTWATCH, AUDEMARS PIGUET-J46220 WRISTWATCH, XY HUBLOT-1321920 WRISTWATCH, XY HUBLOT-924206 WRISTWATCH and iPhone 8 worth over N70,000,000.00 (Seventy Million Naira), as required in page 10 of the Declaration of Assets Forms and you thereby committed an offence.”

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Mompha is further accused of using a false document titled “SELECT MILK PRODUCER J.P. Morgan”, to defraud Continental Diary Facilitate Southwest LLC.

The EFCC is also accusing him of colluding with one Olayinka Jimoh (aka Nappy Boy) to retain an aggregate sum of N52, 000,000 between January 28, 2019 and February 11, 2019, believed to be proceeds of criminal conducts.

He, however, pleaded “not guilty” to the charge when it was read to him in court.

Following his plea, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, had prayed the court for a trial date and for the remand of the defendant.

In his response, the defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, however, informed the Court that the defence had filed the defendant’s bail application.

Consequently, Justice Dada had adjourned till January 18, 2022 for “hearing of the bail application.”

At today’s proceeding, Mompha’s counsel, Oyewole, moved the bail application for his client through an 18-paragraph affidavit containing eight exhibits.

Moving the application, Oyewole prayed the Court to grant Mompha bail on “liberal terms”.

Oyewole said: “It’s a bailable offence and most important is that the defendant is also standing trial on 22 counts before a Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos for more grievous offence before Justice Mohammed Liman, who also admitted him to bail.

“The prosecution has called 10 witnesses and he has never missed court”.

Oyewole further told the Court that Justice Liman, who has been transferred out of jurisdiction to Kano, “has got fiat to continue the case and we are constitutionally empowered to have access to our client.

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“We, therefore, plead that he should be admitted to bail,” he added.

Opposing the bail application, the prosecuting counsel, Oyedepo, through a 19-page counter-affidavit, including three exhibits, prayed the Court to instead grant accelerated hearing of the case.

In his argument, Oyedepo made references to the exhibits, which included the Visitors’ Register to the EFCC, Suspects’ Register and a letter from the Ikoyi Federal High Court, where Mompha is standing trial before Justice Liman.

Oyedepo said: “The letter from the Federal High Court to the EFCC showed that the applicant received his international passport from the Court as applied for on 22 July 2020 and granted by the Court for him to travel to the United Arab Emirates, UAE, for 14 days.

“The man seeking the discretion of the Court to be in his favour flouted the order of the Court; and as at 17th January 2022, he is yet to return the international passport.

“Both the old and the new (passports) were released to the first defendant’s counsel, but had not been returned up till the time of writing the letter.

“That is to show that this applicant, as we speak, is still with his international passport, which the Court gave him for 14 days, received on 27th July 2020, and with no explanation.

“Moreover, part of the bail conditions granted him by the Federal High Court was that he should be reporting fortnightly at the EFCC office.

“But as indicated in the exhibits attached, he violated the order of the Court, as the last time he complied was 5th July 2021.”

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However, Oyewole pinned Mompha’s inability to report at the EFCC office to the COVID-19 pandemic and the EndSARS crisis.

“He also contracted COVID and we notified the Commission about this, and that he needed to treat himself,” Oyewole added.

He further prayed the Court to use its discretion in favour of the defendant, as he was set to open his defence before Justice Liman.

“He never jumped bail and he should be given the allowance to defend himself,” Oyewole said.

Justice Dada was, however, not persuaded by the arguments canvassed by the defence urging the Court to grant bail on liberal terms, but noted firmly the arguments of the prosecution hinged on the fact that Mompha was yet to return his international passport.

“I am not satisfied that 16 months after, the international passport is yet to be returned,” Justice Dada held, and, thereafter, granted Mompha bail in the sum of N200 million, with two sureties in like sum, one of whom must own a property within jurisdiction worth N100 million.

The two sureties must be gainfully employed, depose to an affidavit of means, and must give approval to have a lien placed on the bank accounts.

Mompha was also ordered to submit his international passport to the Court, as a necessary condition to fulfil the bail conditions.

He was ordered to be remanded in any Correctional Centre of his choice pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.

The case has been adjourned till March 28 and 29, 2022 for trial.

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