The Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has granted an internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, bail in the sum of N200m with two sureties in like sum.
Justice Mojisola Dada who granted the bail application of the defendant also ordered that one of the sureties must own property valued at N100 million within the jurisdiction of the court.
The court also ordered the defendant to return his international passport to the custody of the court while ordering his remand in any Correctional Centre of his choice in Lagos pending the perfection of the bail conditions.
READ ALSO: EFCC Arraigns Mompha On Fresh Charges
Fresh reports however indicate that Mompha has opted to be remanded at the Ikoyi correctional centre following his inability to meet the bail conditions.
He is facing an eight-count charge of alleged money laundering of over N6 billion before the court.
Last week Wednesday, the EFCC had arraigned Mompha alongside his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Limited for alleged money laundering to the tune of over N6 billion.
Mompha pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
In granting bail, Justice Mojisola Dada listened to arguments from Mompha’s counsel, Gboyega Oyewole (SAN). The court also listened to counterarguments from counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo.
In his submissions, Oyewole who moved the bail application for his client through an 18-paragraph affidavit containing eight exhibits urged the court to grant Mompha bail on “liberal terms.”
Oyewole said, “It’s a bailable offence and most important is that the defendant is also standing trial on a 22 count charge before a Federal High Court [Ikoyi, Lagos] for more grievous offences before Justice Mohammed Liman who also admitted him to bail.
“The prosecution has called 10 witnesses in that case and he has never missed court.”
Oyewole, also told the Court that though Justice Liman had been transferred out of jurisdiction to Kano, the judge had got a fiat to continue hearing the case.
In his submissions to oppose the grant of bail, the EFCC’s prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, through a 19-page counter-affidavit, including three exhibits, asked the Court to instead, grant an accelerated hearing of the case.
In his argument, Oyedepo made references to the exhibits, which included the Suspect’s Visitors Register to the EFCC, Suspect’s Register and a letter from the Federal High Court where Mompha is standing trial before Justice Liman.
Oyedepo noted that Mompha flouted a directive of the court which allowed him travel to the United Arab Emirates, UAE for 14 days.
“The man seeking for the discretion of the Court to be in his favour, flouted the order of the Court and as at 17th January 2022, he is yet to return his international passport.
“Both the old and the new [passports] were released to the first defendant’s counsel, but has not been returned up till the time of writing the letter.
“That is to show that this applicant, as we speak, is still with his international passport, which the Court gave him for 14 days.
“Moreover, part of the bail conditions granted him by the Federal High Court was that he should be reporting fortnightly at the EFCC office, but as indicated in the exhibits attached, he violated the order of the Court as the last time he complied was 5th July 2021.”
Mompha’s counsel, Oyewole however explained Mompha’s inability to report at the EFCC office and blamed it on the COVID-19 pandemic and the ENDSARS crisis.
“He also contracted COVID and we notified the Commission about this, and that he needed to treat himself,” Oyewole said.
The counsel asked the Court to use its discretion in favour of the defendant as he was set to open his defence before Justice Liman.
“He never jumped bail and he should be given the allowance to defend himself,” Oyewole said.
In her ruling, Justice Dada said, “I am not satisfied that 16 months after, the international passport is yet to be returned to the court.”
The court however granted the bail but gave further conditions to include: that the two sureties must be gainfully employed, depose to an affidavit of means, and must give approval to have a lien placed on their bank accounts.
The court also ordered Mompha to submit his international passport to the Court as a necessary condition to fulfil the bail conditions.
He was ordered to be remanded in any Correctional Centre of his choice pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.
The case has been adjourned till March 28 and 29, 2022 for trial.