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Court orders Mompha’s trial for alleged N6bn fraud to continue in absentia

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Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State Special Offences Court, Ikeja, on Wednesday ordered the continuation of the trial of the social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha, for alleged N6billion fraud in his absence.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had declared the defendant wanted after he jumped bail.

The commission arraigned Mustapha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, on an eight-count charge of money laundering.

Other charges include retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, use of property derived from an unlawful act, possession of a document containing false pretences, and failure to disclose assets.

The absence of the defendant stalled his trial on June 30.

He was also absent from court on June 16.

Justice Dada had on June 22 issued a bench warrant for Mustapha’s arrest following his absence in court.

Read also:Instagram celebrity, Mompha tackles EFCC, accuses agency of extortion, intimidation

She also revoked the bail granted the defendant.

At Wednesday’s proceeding, the EFCC counsel, Abbas Mohammed, told the court that the commission had made frantic efforts to arrest the defendant but to no avail.

He said: “We also wrote letters to our counterpart to secure the presence of the defendant to this Honourable court.

“My lord, we shall be asking for another date to enable prosecution of the defendant on trial in absentia.

The defence counsel, Mr. Kolawale Salami, also aligned with the prosecution and confirmed the commission’s position.

The judge adjourned the case till November 16.

“Make sure you bring your witnesses on that date,” Dada said.

She ruled that Mustapha’s trial would continue in absentia following the inability of EFCC to arrest him after jumping bail.

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