By Robert Egbe
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Wednesday re-arraigned a social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha and his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, at a Federal High Court, Lagos, on an amended 22-count money laundering charge.
Mompha and his firm were first arraigned on a 14-count count charge last November 25, before Justice Mohammed Liman, following his arrest on October 19 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
The alleged offences, according to the EFCC, contravened sections 15 (2) and 18 (3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011.
The defendants pleaded not guilty and were granted N100 million bail.
The trial began and the prosecution called four witnesses who testified before the court.
At the resumption of proceedings yesterday, EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo obtained the court’s approval to re-arraign the defendants on an amended 22-count charge.
Mompha and his firm pleaded not guilty.
Mompha’s counsel, Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) informed the court that the amended charge was served on him and the defendants a few minutes before the court began sitting.
Oyewole prayed for a short date to enable the defence teams to study the additional counts of the charge.
Oyedepo did not oppose him.
Justice Liman adjourned till March 18 and 20, for continuation of trial.
In the amended charge, the EFCC alleged that Mompha procured Ismalob Global Investiment Ltd to retain N33.006, 026,806 billion between 2015 and 2018.
He was also alleged to have failed to inform the anti-graft agency in writing within seven days before making various huge amounts of money to several people, including Ikechukwu Kingsley; Ojei Osemeke; one Onuskain; Okafor Ikenna; Ik Tony Global Communication; Ogbu C &C Ventures.
He was also said to have engaged in foreign exchange transaction without complying with the requirement of informing the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trades and Investment.
In another instance, Mompha was accused of procuring one Ahmed Sarki (now deceased) to make cash payment of 765, 657, 00 Euro in a commercial bank, to a company, Pitacalize Ltd.
The offences, the anti-graft agency said, contravened sections 18(c),15(2)(d), 10, 5, 29(1)(c), 18(c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 and punishable under sections 15(3), 16(1)(f) and Sections 29(2), 16(2) of the same Act.
The offences were also said to have contravened Section 39(2)(a) of the EFCC Act, 2004.