Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court Sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday, May 15, 2023, adjourned till July 3, 2023 further hearing in the alleged N6bn fraud trial involving Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, due to the absence of his lawyer.
The Lagos Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on January 12, 2022 arraigned Mompha alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, on an eight-count charge 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.
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
The EFCC had, at the proceedings of June 10, 2022, informed the court that Mompha was in possession of another passport aside the one submitted to the court, as part of his bail conditions and that he had used same to travel from Ghana to Dubai on April 11, 2022 via Emirates Airlines in violation of the court order.
Consequently, Justice Dada had revoked the N25 million bail variation granted to him, and also issued a bench warrant for his arrest over his failure to appear in court.
The EFCC had also declared him wanted.
However, since June 16, 2022, Mompha has absconded from the trial, even as the EFCC continued with efforts to secure his arrest and appearance in court.
Following his continued absence in court and the inability of the prosecution as well as the defence to produce him in court, Justice Dada had, on September 22, 2022, ordered that the trial would continue in absentia.
At today’s proceedings, the counsel for the EFCC, S.I. Suleiman, informed the court that the prosecution, in collaboration with its international partners, had secured the arrest of the defendant.
“We would like to bring to the knowledge of my lord that, in collaboration with our international partners, we have been able to apprehend him, and we plan to take him into custody and to produce him before the court,” he said.
He also told the court that the counsel for the defendant “reached out to me seeking an adjournment that he would be absent today.”
Justice Dada adjourned till Monday, July 3, 2023 for continuation of trial.