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N30bn Suspected Crime Proceeds Passed Through Mompha’s Account – EFCC

EFCC, Illegal Mining And Economic Recovery

 

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has told a Lagos High Court in Ikeja that N30 billion suspected to be proceeds of crime passed through the account of suspected internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha.

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The EFCC made this disclosure through one Idi Musa, a staff member in the Land and Property Fraud Unit of its Lagos office.

Musa testified on Monday before Justice Mojisola Dada.

He gave evidence of how Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited were linked to Advance Fee fraud and other fraud-related offences.

The duo are facing an eight-count charge of 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 pretense and use of property derived from an unlawful act.

Specifically, the EFCC had alleged that “Ismaila Mustapha, Ahmadu Mohammed (who is said to be at large) and Ismalob Global Investment Limited, sometime in 2016 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to conduct financial transactions to the tune of N5,998,884,653.18 ( Five Billion Nine Hundred and Ninety-eight Million Eight Hundred and Eighty-four Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty-three Naira Eighteen Kobo), with the intent of promoting the carrying on of specified unlawful activities to wit: obtaining by false pretence.”

Another count reads, “On about the 28th day of January 2019, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court with intent of promoting Olayinka Jimoh also known as Nappy Boy in the carrying on of unlawful activities, conducted financial transaction in the the aggregate sum of N32m, which some in part involves the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity to which obtaining money by false pretence.”

At the proceedings on Monday, the EFCC staff member, Idi Musa, testified as the sixth prosecution witness against the defendants who were absent in court.

Musa told the court that based on the combined efforts of the EFCC and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), forensic analysis showed that N30 billion passed through the account of the first defendant, (Ismaila Mustapha) to Fidelity Bank.

“Also, about 5 billion in Zenith Bank was linked to the second defendant.”

While being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Suleiman Suleiman, the witness also told the court that the defendant claimed in his statements to the Commission that he is running a Bureau De Change without a licence and claimed ignorance of the law.

According to the detective, he explained that during investigations, the first defendant’s handset which is an Iphone 8 was recovered from him at the time of his arrest in an Emirate flight when he was about escaping Nigeria sometime on 18th October, 2019.

He informed the court that in communications between the EFCC and FBI, the FBI revealed the content of the defendant’s phone as fraudulent and illegal.

According to him “Printed images found on the phone were stated as a transfer SISIP of 92412.75 United States Dollar which were transferred from Intercontinental Diary facility”.

Upon further investigation, the witness, disclosed, “Response received from FBI through letter to the Chairman of EFCC and sent to the team, the company was contacted and two staff of the company were interviewed and they confirmed that on the 5th May, 2018, email account of one of the staff of Select milk company, which is a subsidiary company of Diary facility was hacked.”

He told the trial judge that thereafter money was transferred to a fraudulent account, he called Business Email Compromise.

He explained that those interviewed claimed they never gave instructions of such transfer but got notifications of cyber crime frauds.

He, however, noted that the EFCC was able to recover $80,000 from the fraudsters and $12,412.75 was missing, as the fraudsters had made away with that from the company despite their effort.

He added that more discovery was made in the account of the 2nd defendant’s Zenith Bank.

He claimed, “A series of payment in that account appeared suspicious.”

The investigator also told the court that it was found out that one Olayinka Jimoh, popularly known as Nappy Boy was a beneficiary.

He said Olayinka made confessional statement that he used to be involved in many internet fraud across the border.

Quoting Olayinka, the witness stated, “He said he met the first defendant, Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha face-to-face in Dubai and that Mompha told him that he picks money for Yahoo Boys.”

Giving context into what he meant by pick money, Musa explained that picking money or a picker is someone who belongs to a syndicate of internet fraudsters.

Quoting Olayinka further, Musa continued, “Ismaila Mustapha provides him with an account where money is transferred into”.

He said the Picker will take a percentage of the successful amount transferred. He said sometimes it’s 20 per cent and if they were able to launder the money successfully, the picker will now pay them in Naira in Nigeria.

“And that indeed the 2nd defendant’s account was used to transfer the proceeds of crime.

He added that investigations also revealed that the first defendant retained money in the account of the 2nd defendant.

“This unlawful proceeds of the internet fraud, over N212million that was given to Olayinka Jimoh and his relation was received from the 1st defendant.

Musa told the court that the major creditor who paid money into the first defendant account was invited, one Hassan Zein, a Lebanese businessman in Kano, Nigeria who usually sourced dollars from his contact called Khalid for his business purchases.

The witness told the court,”90 per cent of the Naira equivalent paid by by Hassan Zein were transferred to Olayinka Jimoh (Nappy) which Nappy told us he received, either through his personal or company’s account.

The EFCC witness added that during the course of arrest, all the items and property recovered from the defendants were registered with our exhibit department, but all of the property except the phone were released to Mompha based on court orders.

“We believed they were reasonably acquired with proceeds of crime because when he was given assets declaration form, he could not include them. The first defendant declared his assets, he did not include those assets.”

The court also admitted two documents tendered as exhibits by the prosecuting counsel through the witness.

The exhibits were, the statement of first defendant and the asset declaration form.

But the defence counsel, Kolawole Salami argued that the documents were not part of the proof of evidence.

He asked the court for more time to enable him study the exhibits before proceeding with cross examination.

Justice Dada has adjourned till October 8, 2024, after the courts annual vacation, for continuation of trial.

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