Metro & Crime

N33bn fraud: Court dismisses Mompha’s no-case motion

Justice Mohammed Liman of a Federal High Court in Lagos Thursday dismissed a no-case motion filed by an internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha, who is currently standing trial over an alleged N33 billion fraud.
In his ruling on the no-case motion, Justice Liman held that the defendants indeed has a case to answer going by the preponderance of evidence provided by the prosecution.
The judge held: “From the totality of the evidence and testimonies of the prosecution witnesses, the court is convinced that the prosecution has established a prima-facie case against the defendants which would warrant the defendants to give explanation.
“From the evidence before the court given by the prosecution witnesses on various counts of the charge, a prima- facie case has been established by the prosecution against the defendants.
“The 1st defendant has explanations to make on issues of retention of funds in Islamob account, money laundering, dealing in foreign exchange without authorization from the Central Bank of Nigeria and declaration of false audit report.
“The no-case motion thus failed and is hereby dismissed. I therefore called on Mustapha and his co- defendant to open their defence.”
Further hearing in the trial has been fixed for March 10, 2021.
Mompha had filed a no-case motion when the EFCC closed its case after calling 10 witnesses. In the motion, he maintained that he has no case to answer as the prosecution has failed to link him to any of the counts.
The EFCC, however, opposed to the motion. The anti-graft agency insisted that it had successfully proved its case against Mompha and that he should be called upon by the court to open his defence.
It would be recalled that the EFCC had on March 4, 2020 re-arraigned Mompha on a 22-count charge of alleged N33 billion fraud. He was first arraigned on November 25, 2019, before the court on a 14-count charge bordering on the alleged offence by the anti-graft agency.
In the 22-count charge, EFCC alleged that Mompha laundered N33 billion through a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd (the second defendant) between 2015 and 2018.

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