The special offences court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Monday, adjourned till July 3, 2023, for further hearing in the alleged N6bn fraud trial involving Mompha, the social media celebrity, due to the absence of his lawyer.
On January 12, 2022, the Lagos zonal command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Mompha alongside Ismalob Global Investment Limited, his company, on eight-count charges.
The charges border 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.
Mompha, born Ismaila Mustapha, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The EFCC had, at the proceedings of June 10, 2022, informed the court that Mompha was in possession of another passport aside from the one submitted to the court, as part of his bail conditions.
The agency argued that he had used the passport to travel from Ghana to Dubai on April 11, 2022, via Emirates Airlines in violation of the court order.
Consequently, Mojisola Dada, the presiding judge, revoked the N25 million bail variation granted to him and also issued a bench warrant for his arrest over his failure to appear in court.
The EFCC had also declared him wanted.
However, since June 16, 2022, Mompha was said to have absconded from the trial, even as the EFCC continued with efforts to secure his arrest and appearance in court.
Following his continued absence in court and the inability of the prosecution as well as the defence to produce him in court, the judge, on September 22, 2022, ordered that the trial would continue in absentia.
At today’s proceedings, S.I. Suleiman, the counsel for the EFCC, informed the court that the prosecution, in collaboration with its international partners, had secured the arrest of the defendant.
“We would like to bring to the knowledge of my lord that, in collaboration with our international partners, we have been able to apprehend him, and we plan to take him into custody and to produce him before the court,” he said.
He also told the court that the counsel for the defendant “reached out to me seeking an adjournment that he would be absent today.”
The judge thereafter adjourned till Monday, July 3, 2023, for continuation of trial.
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