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16 Jan 2020

How Mompha Hid N32.9bn Transactions From FG

The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Wednesday heard that a suspected Internet fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha, concealed N32.9billion transactions from the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML) for 25 months.
A prosecution witness, Mr. Matthew Enu-Obun, told Justice Mohammad Liman that the transactions covered December 14, 2015 and January 25, 2018.

Mompha is accused of retaining the N32.9billion in the bank account of his alleged firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, during the period.

The social media celebrity was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside Ismalob Global Investment on 14 counts of alleged fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with one surety in the like sum.

The prosecution has since opened its case and has led several witnesses in evidence.

At the resumption of trial on Wednesday, prosecution counsel Rotimi Oyedepo resumed examination of the fourth prosecution witness, Enu-Obun.

Enu-Obun, an official of the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), told the court that his agency had no record of the defendants’ transactions of December 14, 2015 to January 25, 2018.

He testified that from available records, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd never reported the transactions to SCUML.

When Oyedepo asked the witness who signed Exhibit C (a reply to the investigation activities on the defendant), he answered: “I signed it.”

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), the witness told the court that he had been with SCUML since 2006.

He said he worked in the Compliance department and gained promotion to the position of a principal compliance officer.

When Oyewole said: “So, you have never been in the Operations department?” Enu-Obun replied: “No.”

When asked the full meaning of DNFI, the witness said it stood for Designated Non-Financial Institutions.

According to him, DNFI included categories of businesses such as casinos, supermarkets, chartered accounting and law firms.

Further hearing was adjourned till February 26.

In the charge, the EFCC alleged that Mompha laundered the funds in tranches of N18,059,353,413 billion and N14,946,773,393.00 billion.

The commission further alleged that the defendant, not being a financial institution, or an authorised foreign exchange dealer, negotiated foreign exchange transaction in the sums of N9.416million, N20million, N10,437,400.00, N10miillion, N2.46million, N10miillion, N100million, N61million, N100million, N40.7million and N42million.

The alleged offences contravene sections 15(2) and 18(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended.

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