November 24, 2020

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Court fixes date for ruling in ‘no case submission’

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A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Wednesday, further adjourned until December 9, to rule on a no-case submission filed by internet celebrity Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha, standing trial for alleged N32.9 billion fraud.
The EFCC charged Mompha with 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He was arraigned alongside a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.

He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with one surety in the like sum.

The case which was earlier fixed for ruling on the no-case submission filed by the defence, could not proceed on Wednesday, as the court did not sit.

Justice Mohammed Liman also fixed December 9 for the ruling.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Justice Liman, had on October 14, adjourned the case for ruling, after listening to submissions by the prosecution and defence.

EFCC accused the defendant of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Ltd and retaining in its account, an aggregate sum of N32.9 billion between 2015 and 2018.

The prosecution closed its case on July 17, after calling its 10th witness, while the court had adjourned for defence.

On October 14, defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, had informed the court that he filed a no-case submission dated August 11.

Mr Oyewole had consequently adopted the arguments contained in his written address in support of his argument that the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant.

He had urged the court to so hold.

In his response, the EFCC’s counsel, Suleiman Suleiman, had asked the court to determine whether the evidence adduced by prosecution has sufficiently linked the defendant to the offences to warrant him to be called on to open his defence and make explanations.

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He also adopted his submissions and urged the court to call upon the defendant to enter his defence.

Defence counsel in response had also adopted his reply on points of law in urging the court to hold that the prosecution had failed to make out a case against the defendant.

According to the charge, EFCC alleged that Mompha laundered the sum of N32.9billion through Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, between 2015 and 2018.

Both defendants were alleged to have negotiated foreign exchange transactions in various sums like N9.4 million, N20 million, N10.4 million, N2.4 million, N100 million, N61 million, N40.7million, N42 million, among others.

Mompha was alleged to have aided Ismalob to retain an aggregate sum of N 14 billion in its account, which was procured from one Pitacalize Ltd.

The offence contravenes the provisions of sections 15(2) and 18(3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.2011 as amended.

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