The Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos State, presided by Justice Mojisola Dada, on Wednesday, revoked the N200m bail earlier granted one Ismaila Mustapha(Mompha) and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
According to a post on the website of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mustapha, who is popularly known as Mompha, alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, are being prosecuted by on eight-count charges.
The charges are said to border on conspiracy to launder funds obtained through unlawful activity, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct and laundering of funds obtained through unlawful activity.
Others are; failure to disclose assets and property 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 N5,998,884,653.18 ( Five Billion Nine Hundred and Ninety-eight Million Eight Hundred and Eighty-four Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty-three Naira Eighteen Kobo) with the intent of promoting the carrying on of specified unlawful activities to wit: obtaining by false pretence.”
The defendant was said to have pleaded not guilty to the charges, prompting the commencement of his trial.
On Thursday, 16th June, the trial was stalled due to the absence of the defendant in court.
The defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, had, during the last week’s sitting, pleaded for a stand down, assuring the court that his client would attend the proceedings.
However, the defendant still did not show up in court despite his counsel’s promise.
The post further revealed that at today’s proceedings, the matter was again stood down to 12.00p.m. at the instance of the prosecution.
When the case was eventually called, the defendant was again absent in court, prompting the presiding Judge, Justice Dada to ask:
“So, where is the defendant?”
In his response, the defendant’s counsel expressed surprise over the inability of his client to appear in court despite the assurance he gave that he would be in court.
In his words: “I had his assurance until yesterday night that he will be in court, and that was why I was waiting downstairs for him.”
Oyewole further told the court that following the absence of the defendant at the last sitting, he made efforts to ensure that the defendant was in court for the continuation of the trial.
In response to this the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo said:
“If I say that this development is not shocking, it will be an understatement.
“As at yesterday, the learned Senior Advocate discussed with me and assured that we should continue today with this proceedings.”
Oyedepo then informed the court that, “we’ve been able to file a plea bargain that he signed.”
He, however, noted that the defence counsel seemed to have taken some steps, adding that “it appears it is not yielding any results. I urge your lordship to issue a warrant for his arrest and for the production of the defendant before your lordship.”
Justice Dada ruled that “The bail of the defendant is once again revoked and a bench warrant issued for his arrest against the next adjourned date of Thursday, 30th June 2022.”
Recall that the Judge had, on June 10, 2022, ordered the temporary revocation of the defendant’s bail, but later released him to his counsel after much pleading.
The prosecution had told the court that the defendant used a new passport to travel from Ghana to Dubai thereby violating his bail terms.