Alleged N6bn fraud: Mompha flouted court order – EFCC

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has alleged that social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha, flouted an order of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court where he is facing trial for N32.9 billion fraud.

The EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, made the allegation before an Ikeja Special Offences Court on Tuesday while opposing a bail application of the defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd., were on Jan. 12 arraigned on an eight-count charge of  N6 billion fraud.

Addressing the court, Oyedepo noted that approaching the court for bail must be done with ‘clean hands’.

He alleged that Mompha flouted an order given by Justice Mohammad Liman of the Federal High Court, Lagos Division, where he is facing trial on a 22-count fraud charge.

EFCC counsel said that Liman had ordered that the defendant’s international passport should be released for 14 days to enable him to travel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“This passport is still with the applicant. He received it for use for 14 days in July 2020, and this is 2022, he has not given it back.

“We wrote to the Federal High Court to confirm if he has returned his international passport. We got a response yesterday confirming that the passport has not been returned.

“Not only did he travel to the UAE, we received credible intelligence that he did not limit his travel to the UAE as ordered by the court, he travelled to other countries.

“This is the face of the man who is seeking the judicial exercise of my lord’s discretion,” Oyedepo said.

The EFCC counsel also said that as part of the bail conditions given by Liman, the defendant was to be reporting to the anti-graft agency fortnightly.

“The last time the defendant came to the EFCC in compliance with the order is July 5, 2021. He again flouted the order of court. I urge my lord to refuse the bail application,” he said.

Requesting for an accelerated hearing, Oyedepo said the court had powers under Section 19 of the EFCC Act to ensure undue delay in the trial.

Denying the allegations, defence counsel said that EFCC had put Mompha under its travel watch list which made him unable to make the scheduled trip to the UAE.

“The order was made in June, we did not know the EFCC had placed the defendant under watch at the airport.

“Exhibit LT7 is the EFCC’s letter to the airport in September 2021, clearing him to travel, three months after the order was made.

“In that letter, they told him to ‘enjoy all subsequent trips’. The letter is very explicit regarding the word trips.

“If there is any disobedience my lord, we are all in disobedience. I have given my word that his international passport will be returned to the Federal High Court tomorrow, though Justice Liman’s registrar is now in Kano,” Oyewole said.

NAN reports that Justice Mojisola Dada, in a brief ruling, granted the defendant bail in the sum of N200 million with two sureties.

She ordered that Mompha’s international passport be should be submitted to the court’s  registrar pending the completion of the case.

Dada remanded him at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre pending the perfection of his bail conditions.

The judge adjourned the case until March 28 for commencement of trial. (NAN)