Court Orders Interim Forfeiture Of Mompha’s Luxury Watches, Others

A combination of a file photo of Mompha and the EFCC logo.

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an order of interim forfeiture of 11 high-end designer items confiscated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from Internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha.

The items – five luxury sunglasses, five luxury wristwatches, and an iPhone 8 – were seized from Mompha when he was arrested by the EFCC on October 19, 2019, at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja.

The glasses Dsquared, Tomford – TF586, Cartier – B17C76B, Montblanc – MB0045S, and Louis Vuitton- Z1186E,  while the watches are Rolex Oyster Perpetual, Audemars Piguet, Audemars Piguet – J46220; XY Hublot – 1321920; and an XY Hublot- 924206.

Justice Lewis Allagoa granted the order of interim forfeiture on Friday after hearing an ex-parte application argued by EFCC counsel, Chinenye Ugwoke.

He ruled that the order subsists pending the EFCC’s investigation of Mompha and his company Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, both listed as respondents in the suit.

Since November 2019, Mompha and Ismalob Global Investment have been facing 14 charges bordering on allegations of laundering N32.9 billion.

The EFCC supported its application with an affidavit by an investigating officer with the anti-graft agency’s Advance Fee Fraud Section (AFF) section, Mr Bot Dachung.

“The purpose of this application is to prevent the respondents from tempering and/or dissipating the properties listed in the schedule to this application which are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities,” Dachung stated.

“If the properties listed in the schedule to this application are not temporarily and timeously forfeited, efforts of the ongoing investigation relating to internet/cyber-related crimes and possible prosecution would be brought to a nought.”

The EFCC told the judge that the items were “found in the possession of the first respondent (Mompha), which property/asset is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities and presently in the lawful custody of the applicant.”

According to the agency, a preliminary investigation revealed various intelligence reports linking Mompha with chains of internet/cybercrime activities.

It further alleged that there “have been concerted ongoing investigation activities against the respondents with respect to the first respondent’s (alleged) involvement in cybercrime activities.”

“The properties listed in the schedule to this application were recovered from the first respondent upon his arrest by the operatives of the applicant, hence this application.

“That efforts and attempts have been made by the first respondent through his legal representatives to retrieve the said properties listed in the schedule to this application,” the EFCC said.

Money Laundering Charge: Court Orders Mompha To Open His Defence

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has dismissed the “no- case application” filed by an internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha.

Justice Mohammed Liman in his ruling on the “no-case application” held that 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 them to give an explanation.

The judge, therefore, called on Mustapha and his co-defendant to open their defence.

Mompha and his co-defendant, Ismalob Global Investment Limited are currently facing a 22 count criminal charge bordering on money laundering.

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The EFCC had alleged that between 2015 and 2018, Mompha procured the company said to be owned by him, Ismalob Global Investment Limited to retain an aggregate of N32.95bn in its bank account.

The EFCC said he ought to have reasonably known that the funds formed parts of proceeds of an unlawful act of fraud.

The EFCC also alleged that Mompha’s company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, as a designated non-financial institution, failed to report to the EFCC within seven days huge single lodgments and transfers of N104.8m, N135m, N20m, N150m, N22.3m, N100m and N42m.

“Not being an authorised buyer of foreign exchange currency appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mompha negotiated several foreign exchange transactions with different individuals in the sums of N20m, N22.3m, N30m, N100m, and N40.7m. And also made cash payments of €299,000, €213,675, €273,000 to one Ahmed Sarki, said to be deceased, the EFCC said”.

These offences are said to be contrary to Section 18(c), 15(2)(d), 15(3), and Section 10 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. And sections 5 and 29(1)(c) of the Foreign Exchange Monitoring and Miscellaneous (Provisions) Act Cap F34 LFN 2004.

But Mompha and his company pleaded not guilty to the charge.

During the trial, the EFCC called 10 witnesses and tendered several documents, which were admitted by the court.

At the end of the prosecution’s case, Mompha opted to file a no-case application instead of opening his defence.

His Counsel, Gboyega Oyewole SAN argued that despite calling 10 witnesses and tendering a load of documents, the EFCC failed to establish a prima facie case against Mompha and his company.

But the EFCC counsel, S.I. Suleiman, opposed the submission and insisted that the agency had substantiated its allegations against them.

After listening to both parties, the court adjourned for its ruling.

Alleged N32.9bn Fraud: EFCC To Close Case Against Mompha July 10

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till July 10 for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to present its remaining witnesses and close its case against social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha.

Mompha is accused of cyber fraud and laundering about N33billion.

On March 4, he and his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd, were re-arraigned before Justice Mohammed Liman on a 22-count charge.

The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendant who is based in Dubai is a major figure in an organised transnational cyber fraud network, adding that he laundered several funds which he used in acquiring properties in the United Arab Emirates.

Mompha pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

At Wednesday’s proceedings, an accountant, Abiodun Audu, testified for the EFCC. He told the court about the tax return forms for Mompha’s company.

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He mentioned that it was one Alhaji Hamodu, a director in Mompha’s firm that contacted him to file the tax returns for the company.

Hamodu, he said, required him to input July 2016 to June 2017, in the tax return to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The witness testified that it was at the EFCC that the document relating to the tax return was shown to him when he was invited there sometime this year.

During cross-examination by Mompha’s counsel, the witness said Hamodu, a Bureau De Change operator, supplied the information on the company’s self-assessment form.

But during re-examination by the EFCC, Audu said both Hamodu and Mompha’s signatures were on the company’s tax self-assessment form.

Justice Liman, therefore, directed the anti-graft agency to present its last set of witnesses at the next adjourned date and fixed further proceedings for July 10.

[ICYMI] Instagram Celebrity, Huspuppi Allegedly Nabbed For Fraud

 

Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Raymond Igbalodely, popularly known as Hushpuppi has allegedly been arrested over allegations of fraud.

He was reportedly arrested by interpol in the early hours of Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates, after being nabbed for allegedly diverting coronavirus aid funds to the tune of $35 million.

Hushpuppi

 

The Dubai-based Nigerian is famous for posting over the top luxury on social media, as well as posing next to helicopters and supercars.

Last year, he changed his Instagram profile from the famous ‘Billionaire Gucci Master’ to ‘Real Estate Developer’, following the arrest of fellow Instagram and Dubai-based big boy, Mompha, by anti-graft officials.

Read Also: EFCC Arrests Instagram Celebrity Mompha With Wristwatches Worth N20m

Prior to Hushpuppi’s arrest, himself and his alleged fraud syndicate were said to have been on the radar of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), for some time now.

While there is yet to be any concrete confirmation of his arrest, it quickly became a hot topic across social media as Nigerians debate over the matter.

Many have also continued to wonder about the real source of Hushpuppi’s wealth.

Alleged Fraud: EFCC Re-Arraigns Mompha On Amended Charges

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has introduced new counts into the charge against internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha.

He was re-arraigned today at the Federal High Court Lagos, on amended 22 counts which now includes offenses of making false statements to officials of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), and engaging in foreign exchange transactions other than through the foreign exchange market.

He pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

After his plea, his counsel, Mr. Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) asked the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him to study the new charge.

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He told the court that he had only seen the new charge a few minutes before the court commenced sitting and consequently, urged the court to allow him to study same.

Following the agreement of parties, the court adjourned the case until March 18 for the continuation of trial.

Background:

Mompha was first arraigned by the commission on 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He was arraigned alongside his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.

He had pleaded not guilty to the counts and was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with one surety in like sum.

The trial has since commenced in the suit, with the witnesses of the EFCC testifying.

So far in the trial, the commission had called witnesses from commercial banks, CBN as well as the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML).

In the charge, EFCC accused the defendant of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Ltd and retaining in its account, an aggregate sum of N32.9billion between 2015 and 2018.

The prosecution alleged that Mompha laundered the sum through Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.

Both defendants were alleged to have negotiated foreign exchange transactions in various sums like N9.4million, N20 million, N10.4 million, N2.4million, N100million, N61million, N40.7million, N42million among others.

Mompha was alleged to have aided Ismalob to retain an aggregate sum of N 14 billion in its account, which was procured from Pitacalize Ltd.

The offences are said to contravene the provisions of sections 15(2) and 18(3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 as amended.

Alleged N32.9bn Fraud: Mompha Gets N100m Bail As EFCC Opens Trial

 

The trial of suspected fraudster Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, has commenced with three witnesses testifying against him at the Federal High Court in Lagos.

Mompha is facing 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (EFCC).

He was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday alongside a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Limited.

The EFCC accused Mompha of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Limited and retaining in its bank account an aggregate of N32.9 billion between 2015 and 2018.

At the opening of the trial on Friday, a compliance officer with Fidelity Bank, Peter Adegoke, who testified as the second prosecution witness, told Justice Mohammed Liman that Ismalob Global Investment Limited has a bank account domiciled in the bank.

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Adegoke said Mompha was the sole signatory to the naira account.

Reading from the firm’s statement of account, Adegoke, who was led in evidence by the EFCC lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that between 2015 and October 2019, there was a total inflow of N18.5 billion into the account while a total of about N18 billion moved out within the same period.

He added that the account had a balance of N598,000.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, Adegoke affirmed that his bank would not involve itself in anything unlawful.

Asked whether the bank at any time reported transactions in the firm’s account as being suspicious, Adegoke said, “Yes, we reported to the NFIU (Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit).”

The witness was also asked what the NFIU’s response was and the responded, “They (NFIU) don’t need to respond to us.”

When asked if there was any sanction following the report to the NFIU, Adegoke said he would not know.

When Oyewole insisted that as a compliance officer, who is responsible for the freezing of bank accounts at the requests of anti-graft agency, he should know if there was a sanction, Adegoke explained that Fidelity Bank has a desk that handles reports to the NFIU, adding “I can’t say I know about all sanctions.”

Earlier, an official of the CBN, Mrs Anne Ezekannagha, who testified as the first prosecution witness, told the court that the apex bank has no record of licensing Ismalob Global Investment Limited as a Bureau de Change operator.

She said for the CBN to licence a firm as a Bureau de Change (BDC) operator, such a firm must show evidence of incorporation as a limited liability company by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Ezekannagha explained that all licensed BDCs have a transaction limit of $5,000.

When the defence counsel, Oyewole asked her whether it was unlawful for an individual who has foreign currency in his domiciliary account to give foreign currency to a friend in exchange for naira, the CBN official said it would not be unlawful if it was not a commercial transaction.

According to her, it becomes a commercial transaction if it involves making a profit and it would be illegal.

A Benin City-based BDC operator, Ikenna Okafor, who testified as the third prosecution witness, told the court that he did business with Ismalob Global Investment Limited through “one of its directors, Alhaji Ahmadu Mohammed.”

Okafor said Mohammed used to come to his base in the Edo State capital to buy Euro in the name of Ismalob Global Investment Limited.

“After negotiation with Ismalob Global Investment Limited through Alhaji Mohammed, he usually makes payment into my account through Ismalob,” he said.

Under cross-examination by Oyewole, Okafor said he met Mompha for the first time three days ago at the EFCC office in Ikoyi.

The BDC operator said he was detained for seven days by the EFCC before being released on an administrative bail during the week.

After listening to the testimonies of the witnesses, Justice Liman adjourned further proceedings until January 8, 2020.

Meanwhile, the judge admitted Mompha to bail in the sum of N100 million with one surety who must be a landed property owner.

The defendant was ordered to deposit his passport with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court and report at the EFCC office every fortnight to show that he has not left the country.

Court Remands Mompha In Prison Over Alleged N32.9bn Money Laundering

A file photo of Mompha.

 

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered that suspected internet fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, be kept in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services.

Justice Mohammed Liman gave the order on Monday after “Mompha” pleaded not guilty to the 14 charges of laundering N33 billion filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The court also fixed November 29 for the hearing of the bail application filed by the defendant.

The anti-graft agency alleged in the charge sheet signed by one of its counsels, Rotimi Oyedepo, that Mompha laundered the funds through a firm which was the second defendant – Ismalob Global Investment Ltd – between 2015 and 2018.

It claimed that the funds, domiciled in a commercial bank, were moved in tranches of N18,059,353,413 and N14,946,773,393.

The EFCC also claimed that both defendants, not being a financial institution or an authorised foreign exchange dealer, negotiated a foreign exchange transaction in the sum of N9.416 million, N20 million, N10,437,400, N10 million, N2.46 million, N10 million, N100 million, N61 million, N100 million, N40.7 million, and N42 million.

The funds were domiciled in the defendants’ commercial bank account.

In one of the counts, the anti-graft agency alleged that Mompha, “Between 2015 and 2018… procured Ismalob Global Investment Ltd to retain the aggregate sum of N18,059,353,413 in its account No. 5260000846 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Plc which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of unlawful act to wit: fraud.”

The first defendant was also alleged to have between 2015 and 2017, aided the company “to retain the aggregate sum of N 14,946,773,393.00 in its account No. 5260000846 domiciled in Fidelity Bank Plc from Pitacalize Ltd.”

Both actions, according to the EFCC, offend Sections 18(3) and 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.2011 (as amended) and are punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.

EFCC To Arraign ‘Mompha’ On Monday For Alleged Fraud

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed a 14 charge of alleged fraud and money laundering against internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha. 

Mompha is to be arraigned before Justice Mohammad Liman of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos on Monday, November 25.

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In the first charge, the EFCC said that between 2015 & 2018, Mompha procured Ismalob Global Investment Ltd to retain the sum of N18m in its account, a sum suspected to be proceeds of crime.

Only yesterday, Mompha had filed a Fundamental Rights Enforcement Suit before the Lagos High Court to challenge his continued detention by the EFCC. He asked the court to award him N5m in damages against the EFCC for what he called his unlawful detention.

See charge sheet below:

Suspected Internet Fraudster Mompha, Sues EFCC, Seeks N5m Compensation

 

A suspected internet fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha has filed a Fundamental Rights Enforcement Suit before the Lagos High Court  to challenge his continued detention by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In the application dated November 14 and brought pursuant to Section 34-36 and Section 46(1) & (2) of the 1999 Constitution, Mompha is asking the court to declare that his continued detention since October 22, on the orders of a Lagos Magistrate Court which order expired on November 4, is unlawful and constitutes a gross violation of his right to personal liberty.

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He also wants the court to declare that the failure of the EFCC to charge and arraign him in court is unconstitutional.

He is therefore seeking an order of the court directing the EFCC to release him from custody, unconditionally.

He is also seeking an order of perpetual injunction restraining the EFCC or any person acting on its behalf from arresting and detaining him in relation to the subject matter of this suit without recourse to the due process of law.

Mompha is claiming damages in the sum of N5million against the EFCC for what he calls, his unlawful detention.

How Mompha, Lebanese Friend Were Arrested After Allegedly Laundering N33bn – EFCC    

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has explained how suspected internet fraudster and social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha; and his Lebanese accomplice, Hamza Koudeih were arrested after allegedly laundering the sum of N33billion.

According to a statement on the website of the anti-graft agency, Koudeih is a Lebanese, resident in Lagos, Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower

“He has high net worth allies that include social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as (Mompha), whom the Commission picked up on Friday, 18 October 2019 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while he was on his way to Dubai, United Arab Emirate. Mompha’s arrest laid the path to that of Koudeih,” the statement read in part.

EFCC also added that Mompha camouflages as a bureau de change operator and has used his firm-Ismalob Global Investments Limited-to launder about N14 billion while Koudeih through his THK Services Limited and CHK properties Limited has laundered about N19 billion.

“Evidently, the two are kingpins in a criminal web of cybercriminals who through the three firms, laundered a jaw-dropping N33 billion.

“Before the arrest, EFCC added that both men had featured on its and United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) radar as a high valued target in Organised Cyber Syndicate Network (OCSN) and particularly as honchos in a trans-national network of cybercriminals.

“Worrisome is that Mompha was able to successfully operate 51 fraudulent bank accounts, through which the monies were laundered even with the enhanced account tracking and surveillance which the Bank Verification Number (BVN), introduced by the Central Bank of Nigerian in February 2014 provides,” the statement added.

Revealing how Koudeih was arrested in his house in Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower, the commission said, “Armed with precision Intel, additionally gathered by the EFCC, its operatives tracked him to his lair in Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower and placed the piece of the real estate, where he has his apartment on a lockdown.

“The lack of cooperation from the Lebanese as well as that from the owners and administrators of Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower left the EFCC with two options-beats a retreat or muscle through. It settled for the latter, reinforcing with men and breaching tools against the armoured door.

“The operatives relentlessly deployed the tools against the door, expending more than three gruelling hours before they overcame.”

Head Cybercrime, EFCC, describing the arrest said “It was very difficult to gain entry. It was almost like a standoff. We had to send for reinforcement of officers and breaching tools from the office. We had to breach the triple-reinforced fire-proof door before we could get in.”

The Acting Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu, said Koudeih and Mompha’s arrests are landmark achievements for the EFCC in its fight against cyber crimes and a red alert to potential fraudsters.

EFCC Arrests Instagram Celebrity Mompha With Wristwatches Worth N20m

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Lagos office, has arrested a renowned social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha for alleged involvement in internet-related fraud and money laundering.

This was disclosed by the anti-graft agency in a tweet on their official handle @officialEFCC.

Wristwatches valued at N20million were recovered from Mompha during the arrest.

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According to the EFCC, Mompha is a premium and first-class customer of one of the popular international airlines and has carried out fraudulent activities under the guise of being a Bureau de Change operator.

The EFCC added that Mompha’s display of wealth on social media flaunting huge amount of foreign currencies strengthened their suspicion.

He was arrested on Friday 18, October 2019 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on his way to Dubai Emirate following intelligence reports by the EFCC from collaborative law enforcement agencies.

“Investigations have also revealed that Ismaila is only using the BDC business, he jointly owned with his siblings, as a decoy to launder his proceeds of crime.

“However, the suspect has volunteered useful information to the operatives and has admitted to be reasonably involved in the first two cases he was alleged to be involved.

“At the point of arrest, five wristwatches with a total worth of over twenty million naira (N20, 000, 000: 00) was recovered from him,” the EFCC statement read in part.

The EFCC said the suspect will soon be charged to court as soon as investigation is concluded.

Mompha on his verified Instagram handle described himself as, “CEO Mompha Bureau De Change💰Citizen of The Sky.” He is popularly known as one of Nigeria’s wealthiest socialites on social media, using Instagram to post pictures of his family’s wealth.

In some of his most recent posts, he featured a yellow Ferrari and a 2020 Rolls Royce Wraith Eagle VIII he claimed to have purchased for N180 million.