A prosecution witness, Peter Ademola Adegoke, a Compliance Officer with a new generation bank, on Friday told Justice Abdullai M. Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how N18 billion 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 N33 billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
At Friday’s sitting, the first prosecution witness, Anne Nnenna Ezekannagha, a manger in the Customers Service Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, told the court that Mompha’s company was not registered with the CBN and that he did not have the licence to operate as a Bureau de Change.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Ezekannagha further told the court: “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 is not done via an authorized dealer bank, authorized buyer and a BDC was against law.
In his testimony, Adegoke, who is the second prosecution witness, told the court how over N18 billion 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 it reported the account to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.
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, 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.
Ignatius said: “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 million from Ismalob Investments into IK Global on foreign exchange negotiation.”
During Friday’s proceedings, the defence counsel 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 defendant to bail in the sum of N100 million and one surety in like sum.
The surety must have a landed property in Lagos, which will be verified by the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.
The defendant 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.