Court Orders Arrest of Mompha After Bail Revocation
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A bench warrant for the arrest of an Instagram celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, has been issued by Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.
This was after the judge on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, revoked the N200 million bail earlier granted to the suspect, who is standing trial in a case brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency dragged Mompha before the court 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 an unlawful act.
On June 10, 2022, Justice Dada had ordered the temporary revocation of the defendant’s bail but released him to his counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), 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.
Last Thursday, the trial of Mompha was stalled due to his absence in court and his lawyer 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 12.00 pm at the instance of the prosecution and 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, Mr 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, informing 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, Mr 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 [me] that we should continue today with these proceedings.”
He then informed the court that, “we’ve been able to file a plea bargain that he signed,” but 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, June 30, 2022.”
Business Post reports that one of the charges against Mompha is that he and others, including one at large, “sometime in 2016, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this court, conspired amongst yourselves to conduct financial transactions to the tune of N5,998,884,653.18 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.