Instagram celebrity, Mompha remanded in prison custody over N32.9 billion scam

ON Monday the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos ordered alleged Internet fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha, to be remanded in the prison custody pending the hearing of the case.

The presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Liman ordered that he should remain in prison after Mompha was arraigned before him on a 14-count charge of internet fraud, money laundering and operating a foreign exchange business without a license from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

Reading the charges against him, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, alleged that Mompha had procured one Ismalob Global Investment Limited and kept N32.9 billion between 2015 and 2018.

The EFCC stated that Mompha “ought to have reasonably known that the money formed part of proceeds of the unlawful act, connected to fraud.”

He allegedly perpetrated his fraudulent activities under the guise of being a Bureau de Change, BDC, operator. Before his arrest on October 18, he was frequently flaunting huge amount of foreign currencies on his social media platforms.

The anti-graft agency said they confiscated five wristwatches from him with a total worth of over N20, 000, 000 when he was arrested.

The prosecuting counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, said Mompha acted contrary to sections 5 and 29(1)(c) of the Foreign Exchange Monitoring and Miscellaneous (Provision) Act Cap F34 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and he was liable to be punished under Section 29(2) of the same Act.

After the charges were read to Mompha, he pleaded “not guilty” to all of the charges.

While requesting a date for commencement of trial, the prosecution counsel urged Justice Liman to order that the defendant be remanded in the prison custody.



    Defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole said he was not opposed to the application for a trial date, but said he had already filed a bail application for his client and had also served the same on the prosecution.

    The prosecution confirmed that it had been served with the bail application but said it required time to read and respond to it.

    Justice Liman adjourned till Friday, November 29, to take arguments on the bail application and for the trial to commence.

    However, the prosecution applied that the judge issue summonses on some of its listed witnesses, including the Director of Trade and Exchange Department at the CBN, Ahmed Umar, Enu Matthew of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering, Ministry of Trade, amongst others.

    Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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