N6bn Fraud: Court Receives Bank Account Documents Linked to Mompha

Funke Olaode

An Ikeja Special Offences Court, yesterday, received the bank account documents linked to an alleged money launderer, Ismaila Mustapha otherwise known as Mompha.

Justice Mojisola Dada, while receiving the documents from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecutor, Suleiman Suleiman, pointed out that the prosecution had only presented a copy letter and not a statement of account.

Suleiman asked the court leave to present the statement of account on an adjourned date.

Mompha, regarded as a social media celebrity, has been facing an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering of over N6 billion, alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited.

During resumed proceedings, the fifth prosecution witness, Ezekoli Ozoemenam, a compliance officer with the bank, gave evidence on the account opening package of an account linked to the defendant.

Ozoemenam told the court that the EFCC requested the account opening package of an account, linked to the defendant and he responded to it.

The witness affirmed that the opening package of the account was what he sent to the EFCC ‘It was printed from a perfectly working computer,” he said.

The prosecutor tendered the documents containing the Mompha-linked account opening package and asked the court to admit them in evidence.

The defence counsel led by Kolawole Salami told the court he would reserve his objection to the prosecutor’s application for the documents to be admitted in evidence.

During cross-examination of the witness, the defence counsel, Salami asked Ozoemenam whether he knew the branch office from which the account was opened and if he was working at the bank Headquarters at the time of the account’s opening in 2016, he replied in the negative.

“As at the time that the account was opened, I was not at the Headquarters. I was part of Internal Control and I moved from branch (office) to branch (office) and I can’t remember which branch I was at when the account was opened,” he said.

When Salami asked the witness whether anomalies in bank accounts were reported to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), he answered in the affirmative.

His words: “Yes, anomalies in accounts were reported to the NFIU and not the EFCC. I do not know if the account was ever reported to the NFIU.

“I cannot speak to the nature of the transactions conducted through the account as I am not the Relationship Manager,” the fourth prosecution witness added.

The judge, Dada dismissed the witness at the end of the cross-examination by the defence counsel.

The prosecutor, Suleiman appealed to the court for a witness summons to compel the appearance of its next witness but was unsuccessful.

Dada said, “It is the job of the prosecution to ensure their witnesses appear in court. The court cannot compel a witness who is not occupying an important position.

“There is no special cause placed before the court to warrant a witness summons. I don’t know what position he (the witness) is occupying that will make him feel threatened.

“If you (the EFCC) cannot secure his protection, who else can do that? How does a witness’ summons guarantee his protection?” the judge queried.

Dada adjourned the matter to July 1, 2024, for the continuation of the trial.

Mompha’s trial in absentia continued as he did not appear in court yet again since his trial commenced on June 3, 2023.

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