A prosecution witness, Peter Ademola Adegoke, a Compliance Officer with a new generation bank yesterday told Justice Abdullai M. Liman of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, how the sum of N18bn was paid into the account of a company, Ismalob Global Investments, belonging to Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha
Mompha was arraigned on November 25, 2019 on a 14-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N33bn.
At today’s sitting, the first prosecution witness, PW1, Anne Nnenna Ezekannagha, a manager in the Customers Service Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, told the court that Mompha’s company, Ismalob Ventures, was not registered with the CBN and that he did not have the license to operate as a Bureau de Change.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Ezekannagha further told the court that “We got a letter from the EFCC on the activities of Ismalob Global Ventures. “However, we have no history of the name with the CBN.”
In her further evidence, Ezekannagha told the court that any commercial foreign exchange transaction that was not done via an authorised dealer bank, authorised buyer and a BDC was against law.
In his testimony, Adegoke, who is the second prosecution witness, PW2, told the court how the sum of over N18bn was paid into Ismalob’s account on different occasions between December 2015 and October 2019.
When asked by the defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, if the bank, at any time, reported the account for suspicious transactions, Adegoke, responded in the affirmative, saying that the bank reported the account to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU.
Under cross-examination by Oyewole, the PW2, however, stated that he was not aware if the bank received a response from the NFIU.
Giving his evidence, the third prosecution witness PW3, Okafor Ikenna Ignatius, a Bureau de Change Operator, narrated to the court how one of the Directors at Ismalob Global Ventures had interacted with him on foreign exchange at his base in Benin, Edo State.
“One of the Directors at Ismalob Investments, Alhaji Ahmadu Mohammed, used to come buy Euros from us in Benin.
“After negotiations, he would make payments into my account through Ismalob account.
“I received over N300, 000,000 (Three Hundred Million Naira) from Ismalob Investments into IK Global on foreign exchange negotiation,” he told the court.
During today’s proceedings, the defence counsel, Oyewole, sought bail for his client and also prayed the court to grant him bail on the most liberal terms.
Oyewole told the court that his client “is not a flight risk and all the claims by the EFCC were just speculative.”
In his response, Oyedepo submitted that “bail is at the discretion of the court.
“The defendant is still under investigation and he may tamper with the witnesses in the case.”
He, therefore, urged the court not to accede to the applications of the defendant for bail.
Justice Liman admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N100 Million and one surety in like sum.
The surety must have a landed property in Lagos, which would be verified by the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.
A statement by EFCC said the accused was also ordered to depose his passport with the court and report at the EFCC every 14 days.
The matter was adjourned to January 8, 2020 for continuation of trial.