The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday arraigned Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investments Limited, before Justice Muhammad Liman of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos on a 14-count charge bordering on cyber fraud and money laundering to the tune of N33 billion.
The defendant who is fingered as a major figure in an organised transnational cyber fraud network, allegedly used Ismalob Investment Limited to launder the funds, part of which he used in acquiring properties in Dubai.
The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him.
In one of the charges, Mustapha was alleged to have, between 2015 and 2018, procured Ismalob Investment Limited to retain the aggregate sum of N18,059,353,413 in its account domiciled in a new generation bank.
In another charge, the defendant between 2015 and 2017 allegedly used Ismalob Global Investment Limited to retain in the same account the aggregate sum of N14,946,773,393 received from Pitacalize Limited.
The retention of the monies, which are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful act, is contrary to Sections 18(c) and 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
Upon his plea, prosecuting counsel, S.I. Suleman, asked the court for a trial date and an order to remand the defendant in a Correctional Centre, pending the determination of the case.
However, the defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), informed the court that an application for bail has been filed and served on the prosecution.
Suleman confirmed the receipt of the application but told the court that he needed time to review the application and respond.
Justice Liman, after listening to both parties adjourned the case till November 29, 2019 for hearing of bail application and commencement of trial.
He ordered that the defendant be remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Service custody.