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N6bn laundering: Court okays Mompha’s trial in absentia

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Stories by Ridwan Adekunle

Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja  on Wednesday ordered the continuation of the trial of social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha,  alias Mompha, charged with alleged N6 billion laundering in absence.

Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned until November 16.

“Make sure you bring your witnesses on that date,” Justice Dada said.

She further ruled that his trial was to continue in absentia, following a futile effort by the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest him after jumping bail.

The EFCC counsel, Abbas Mohammed, said the Commission had made a frantic effort to arrest the defendant but to no avail.

“We also wrote letters to our counterpart to secure the presence of the defendant to this Honourable court.

“My lord, we shall be asking for another date to enable prosecution of the defendant on trial in absentia,” he told the court.

The defence counsel, Kolawale Salami, also aligned with the prosecution and confirmed the Commission’s position.

The absence of the defendant had, on June 30, stalled his money laundering trial before the court.

The EFCC charged Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd., with eight counts of N6 billion laundering.

On June 22, the court issued a bench warrant for Mompha’s arrest following his absence in court.

Justice Dada also revoked the bail she granted the defendant.

The social media celebrity was equally absent in court on June 16.

On June 10, EFCC accused him of flouting the court’s order by travelling to Dubai with a new  international passport.

The charges against him include conspiracy to launder money obtained through unlawful activities and laundering money obtained through unlawful activities.

Others are retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, use of property derived from an unlawful act, possession of a document containing false pretences, and failure to disclose assets.

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Crime

Don’t take luggage you don’t know its content, NDLEA warns travellers

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has warned travellers against taking any luggage that they don’t know its content from anyone while travelling.

The agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, shared this information via his X account on Sunday.

Justifying his advice, he disclosed that two students, including a PhD student, ran into trouble when bottles of codeine syrup were discovered in luggage they were carrying for a female friend studying abroad.

The statement read, “A PhD student and another student studying abroad got into custody because bottles of codeine syrup were found in the luggage they picked for their female friend abroad.

“They would have been jailed if #ndlea_nigeria had not worked hard to ensure the owner was put on the next flight home….

“Reason why we warn you not to take any luggage you don’t know its content from anyone.

“Video shows how bags of opioids were concealed among spare parts coming from Onitsha heading to Mubi in Adamawa.”

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Crime

8 nabbed for allegedly vandalising railway sleepers, petroleum pipeline in Bauchi

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Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (), Bauchi Command, has arrested eight suspects for allegedly vandalising railway slippers, petroleum pipelines in the state.

NSCDC Commandant in the state, Mr Ileboye Olajide, who disclosed this while parading the suspects on Thursday in Bauchi, said that the suspects were also arrested for allegedly being in possession of fake currency notes.

Olajide said that the suspects were of three categories of offenders apprehended in one week.

“We got information from our people on the field that some people were vandalising railway sleepers at Dangubi village, along Gombe road.

“We immediately moved to the area and caught them with the 33 already removed sleepers. The suspects involved were actually four; two were arrested while two are at large,” he said.

The NSCDC commandant said five of the suspects were involved in vandalism of a petroleum pipeline at Kangere village on Gombe road in Bauchi Local Government Area, saying that they were handed over to the command by the Nigerian Army artillery unit.

He listed the items recovered from them to include: four motorcycles, various 25-litre cans of petrol and about 10 empty cans.

Olajide said that the suspects were caught while siphoning petroleum products, adding that they had confessed to the act.

The commandant added that another suspect was arrested for being in possession of fake 2,000 dollars in his house.

“Information provided by a woman he previously gave fake 100 dollars led to his arrest,” he said.
According to him, all the suspects will be handed over to relevant agencies after the conclusion of investigation for possible prosecution.

Olajide, however, warned that those nursing the idea of vandalising national infrastructure in the state to think twice, as they would not go scot free under his watch.

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Crime

Five suspects remanded for armed robbery in Ibadan

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Five men were remanded in a detention facility by the Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court in Ibadan on Tuesday over allegations of armed robbery.

The suspects identified as Abiodun Solomon (24), Abdulahi Alejolowo (26), Emmanuel Ayobami (31), Kazeem Saka (37), and Taofeek Lawal (35), with undisclosed addresses, are accused of conspiracy and armed robbery.

According to the prosecutor, Insp Olalekan Adegbite, the defendants allegedly committed the offense around 2 a.m. on January 8 in the Olode neighborhood of Ibadan. Adegbite stated that the defendants assaulted individuals in the neighborhood using weapons and proceeded to rob them of their cell phones, jewelry, electrical gadgets, cash, and other valuables.

The prosecutor said that these actions contravened Sections 6(B) and 1(2) of Nigeria’s Robbery and Firearms Laws of 2004.

However, Magistrate Oluwabusayo Osho declined to accept the defendants’ plea due to jurisdictional limitations and instructed that the case file be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions for legal guidance. The matter was adjourned until April 29 for mention.

This incident follows a similar case reported  last Friday, where the Iyaganku Magistrates’ Court remanded three men – Jiya Adams (44), Joseph Abidoye (39), and Femi Adetunji (40) – on allegations of kidnapping. The accused individuals, also without disclosed addresses, faced charges of conspiracy, armed robbery, and abduction.

Magistrate Olaolu Olanipekun adjoined the case till May 13 for further hearing after directing the prosecution to duplicate the case file and send it to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for legal advice.

The prosecution counsel, ASP Anthony Igori, alleged that the defendants, along with others, attacked an expatriate and proprietor of Saco Nigeria Ltd., Mr. Mohammed Il-Saheed, stole his Samsung cell phone valued at N800,000, and abducted him, collecting a N35 million ransom before releasing him after six days in captivity.

These incidents underscore the ongoing efforts by law enforcement to address criminal activities in Ibadan and uphold the rule of law.

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