The trial of internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha, for alleged N32.9billion fraud commenced at the Federal High Court, Lagos, on Friday with the prosecution calling three witnesses to testify in court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Mompha on a 14- count charge of fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He was arraigned alongside a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Limited.
The Commission accused Mompha of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Limited and retaining in its bank account with an aggregate of N32.9billion between 2015 and 2018.
EFCC prosecution witness who is a compliance officer with Fidelity Bank, Peter Adegoke, told the court that Ismalob Global Investment Limited has an account domiciled in Fidelity Bank.
Adegoke, who gave evidence as the second witness, told Justice Mohammed Liman that Mompha was the sole signatory to the naira account.
While reading from the firm’s statement of account, the witness, who was led in evidence by the EFCC lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that between 2015 and October 2019, there was a total inflow of N18.5billion into the account while a total of about N18billion moved out within the same period.
He said the account had a balance of N598,000.
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Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), Adegoke, said his bank would not involve itself in anything unlawful.
Asked whether the bank at anytime reported transactions in the firm’s account as being suspicious, the witness said, “Yes, we reported to the NFIU (Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit).”
And on what the NFIU’s response was, the witness said, “They (NFIU) don’t need to respond to us.”
Asked if there was any sanction following the report to the NFIU, he said, “I would not know.”
When Oyewole insisted that as a compliance officer who is responsible for the freezing of bank accounts at the requests of the 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 and “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 Ismalob Global Investment Limited licensing as a Bureau de Change operator.