A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday remanded a suspected money launderer, Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, following his arraignment for an alleged N33billion fraud.
Mompha pleaded not guilty to a 14-count charge of money laundering, unauthorised forex trade and failure to comply with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
The charge was filed against the internet celebrity and the second defendant, Islamob Global Investments Ltd, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC arrested Mompha on October 19 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
He was remanded in the commission’s custody following a court order.
Last Thursday, the internet celebrity sued the anti-graft agency for N5million alleging wrongful detention.
At his arraignment yesterday, EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo told Justice Mohammad Liman that Mompha laundered the funds through Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, between 2015 and 2018.
Following his plea, the prosecutor prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody. He applied for a trial date.
Defence counsel Mr. Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) did not oppose the prayer, but he observed that Mompha had been in custody for 42 days already, according to him, unlawfully.
Oyewole said the defence had already filed a bail application.
Oyedepo agreed that he had been served with the bail application. He prayed for a short date to respond.
The prosecutor further applied for a summons to be issued to several witnesses, including a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director of Trade and Exchange, Mr Ahmed B. Umar.
The judge granted his prayer.
Following the submissions of the parties, Justice Liman fixed Friday, November 29, for hearing of the bail application and commencement of trial.
The EFCC claimed that the funds were laundered in tranches of N18,059,353,413 billion and N14,946,773,393.00 billion.
The commission further alleged that both defendants, not being a financial institution, or an authorised foreign exchange dealer, negotiated a foreign exchange transaction in the sums off @N9.416million, N20 million, N10,437,400.00, N10miillion, N2.46million, N10miillion, N100million, N61million, N100million, N40.7million and N42million.
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