N6bn laundering: Court okays Mompha’s trial in absentia


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.