Ismaila Mustapha, the internet celebrity better known as Mompha, has threatened to sue the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over what he claimed to be a libellous publication against him.
The EFCC had earlier asked a Lagos court to dismiss the application of one Hamza Koudeih, a Lebanese national, seeking to travel out of the country for psychiatric treatment amid the money laundering case against him.
The anti-graft agency had prosecuted Koudeih and one Kayode Phillips as “money laundering accomplices” of Mompha before the federal high court in Ikoyi, Lagos.
But in a letter dated September 13 from his lawyers, Mompha asked the EFCC to retract the allegation against him, which he said was libellous.
“Our instruction is that via a recent online publication, the EFCC through its image maker, Wilson Uwujaren made a libellous and defamatory statement concerning our client, Mr Ismaila Mustapha,” the letter, signed by Gboyega Oyewole, Mompha’s counsel, read in part.
The socialite also threatened to file a lawsuit against the EFCC if it fails to tender an unreserved apology in 14 days.
“Our client is not a criminal or fraudster as painted in the publication. Our client does not know Koudeih and has never had anything to do with him,” the letter added.
“Nowhere in any of the charges against him was our client mentioned or found to be his accomplice.
“Our Client has never been convicted of any crime in Nigeria even though he is charged with offences bothering on operating a bureau de change (BDC) without a licence, but he has not been convicted as the trial is ongoing.
“It is embarrassing that an organisation of EFCC’s level would hastily defame a suspect, who to their knowledge is being prosecuted by the organisation, and has not been convicted for any crime known to law in Nigeria.
“We wish to request that the organisation through its image maker Wilson Uwajaren retracts the blanket statement against our client forthwith and with the same publicity as was given to his previous press release on the matter.
“If you fail to heed the request of our client within 14 days of the receipt of this letter, we shall be constrained to proceed to the court of law against your organisation for exemplary damages for injurious falsehood.”
In August, the internet celebrity had said that he is neither a fraudster nor an associate with people involved in fraud.
But the antigraft agency had fired back at him, saying it does not advise people suspected of fraud.
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