Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, revoked the N200m bail earlier granted to one Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, and also issued a bench warrant for his arrest.
Mompha, alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes, EFCC, 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.
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.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, prompting the commencement of his trial.
The trial had been stalled on Thursday, June 16, 2022, due to the absence of the defendant.
The defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, had, during the June 16, 2022 sitting, pleaded for a stand down, assuring the Court that his client would attend the proceedings.
However, the defendant still failed to show up in court, despite the stand down.
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 Justice Dada to ask: “So, where is the defendant?”
In his response, Oyewole, who also expressed surprise at the development, told the court that he was given the assurance that the defendant would be in court.
“I had his assurance until yesterday night that he will be in court, and that was why I was waiting downstairs for him,” he said.
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.
Reacting to the development, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, said: “If I say that this development is not shocking, it will be an understatement.
“As of 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.”
Consequently, 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.”
The Judge had, on June 10, 2022, ordered the temporary revocation of the defendant’s bail but released him to his counsel, who pleaded for one week to investigate the allegation by the prosecution that the defendant procured another passport different from the one submitted to the court, as part of conditions for his bail.
The prosecution had told the court that the defendant used a new passport to travel from Ghana to Dubai thereby violating his bail terms.