JUSTICE Mojisola Dada of a Lagos State Special Offences Court Sitting in Ikeja earlier today Wednesday, 1 November 2023, adjourned till 19 December 2023 further hearing in the alleged N6bn fraud trial involving Ismaila Mustapha (popularly known as Mompha (now at large).
Mompha, alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, was arraigned by the Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 12 January 2022 on eight-count charges bordering on conspiracy to launder funds obtained through unlawful activity; retention of proceeds of criminal conduct; laundering of funds obtained through unlawful activity; failure to disclose assets and property; possession of documents containing false pretence and use of property derived from unlawful act.
One of the counts reads: “Ismaila Mustapha, Ahmadu Mohammed (at large) and Ismalob Global Investment Limited, sometime in 2016 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to conduct financial transactions to the tune of Five Billion Nine Hundred and Ninety-Eight Million Eight Hundred and Eighty-Four Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty-Three Naira Eighteen Kobo (N5,998,884,653.18), with the intent of promoting the carrying on of specified unlawful activities to wit: obtaining by false pretence.”
At the last proceedings on Monday, 18 September 2023, the EFCC, through its third prosecution witness, PW3, Ayorinde Solademi, a staff of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Office of Legal Attache, US Consulate, Lagos, had tendered a report by the USA-based FBI, as well as an investigative report on Mompha’s iPhone, which the agency claimed was used for fraudulent practices.
The defence counsel, Kolawole Salami had objected to the admissibility of the two documents, arguing that they were public documents that needed to be certified by the United States Consulate.
“The documents are not a certified true copy, and should not be admitted in court,” he had said.
The objection was, however, overruled by the court.
Justice Dada upheld the submission of the prosecution that the documents were in their original state, stressing that, “the documents do not require certification”.
Under cross-examination, the witness had told the court that the FBI’s forensic operations revealed that Mompha’s iPhone was used to send account details to a United Arab Emirates telephone number; used to search for Swift Codes of a bank, and also had a compromised Microsoft 365 account.
He further told the court that Mompha’s iPhone, during analysis, was found to have also been used to change payment delivery from cheque to wire transfer, after a third attempt.
He said: “The iPhone was used to make three attempts to transfer funds. The first two failed, but the third was successful.”
The judge had, thereafter, adjourned till 1 November 2023 (today) for continuation of trial.
At Wednesday’s proceedings, counsel for the EFCC, Bilikisu Buhari, informed the court that the prosecution’s next witness was not in the country.
Consequently, Justice Dada adjourned the case till Tuesday, 19 December 2023 for continuation of trial.