By Biodun Busari
Nigerian socialite, Ismaila Mustapha popularly called Mompha, has reacted to the statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for declaring him wanted over alleged money laundering.
The anti-graft agency on Wednesday urged Nigerians with information on Mompha’s whereabouts to contact the nearest police station.
Mompha is facing a N6 billion money laundering trial before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court.
“Wanted by the EFCC: Ismaila Mustapha. Anyone with useful information as to his whereabouts should contact the EFCC or the nearest police station,” EFCC wrote.
Reacting, Mompha via his verified Instagram page, said he could not be declared wanted by EFCC as he neither stole money nor got involved in money laundering.
His statement titled “Mompha wanted by the EFCC – The Truth”, was posted on Thursday morning.
It read: “After my arrest and arraignment on the first case at the federal high court Lagos, on the 10th of December 2021, the court gave me judgment and ordered EFCC to release my wrist watches and other valuables in their custody to me for been unlawfully seized.
“Being a bitter agency, the EFCC in dissatisfaction with the judgment of the court on the release of my wristwatches came up with another trumped-up charge against me.
“On the 10th of January 2022, while I was at their office at Okotie Eboh to retrieve my wristwatches in compliance with the judgment of the court and immediately after collecting my wristwatches, they held me down at their office and charged me to court the following day on the frivolous charges.
“I was arraigned before a familiar Judge to the EFCC and, in effect, I was given a very difficult bail to meet as a result of which I ended up spending over two months in prison custody while making efforts to meet the difficult bail.
“After several attempts to meet the bail conditions failed, I successfully applied for the bail conditions to be reduced, which eventually led to my release.
“Upon my release, I traveled outside Nigeria to check on the welfare and wellbeing of my family and returned to Nigeria shortly only for the EFCC Corrupt lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo rather than focus on the establishing his criminal case against me along with the EFCC operative Kaina Garba, chose to capitalize on the fact that I traveled to blackmail me into entering a plea bargain.
“Else he would inform the Judge I traveled and ensure my bail is revoked, therefore making me have no choice but to dance to his tune.
“I initially refused but after so much blackmail and intimidation by Rotimi Oyedepo, I succumbed and was told to pay N142 million naira to EFCC as compensation and also sign for a one-year imprisonment sentence.
“I was uncomfortable, and they thereafter reduced it to N40 million naira and one-year imprisonment. When it became obvious to EFCC that I wasn’t going to sign the plea bargain and play to their game, they informed the Judge I traveled.
“The Judge without any concrete evidence and disregard of the fact that I was never absent in court, revoked my bail, but fortunately the Judge again released me on a temporary basis, and I was asked to appear in court a week after.
“All these facts especially the blackmail and intimidation by the EFCC made me come to the conclusion that I cannot get justice within this corrupt laden system as the EFCC was hell-bent on extorting money from me for a crime I never committed as well as the Judge who was ready to send me back to prison custody without any evidence or basis.
“More importantly, to show the EFCC is a charade, the so-called Nappy I was alleged to have engaged in fraudulent activities with was never declared wanted, the EFCC extorted money, cars, and landed properties from Nappy but rather declared me wanted to generate cheap publicity.
“I was never involved in any illegal activity or crime, I only paid money to Nappy in the normal course of my BDC business I never knew whether he was involved in any form of illegal activities or not.
“Finally, it was obvious entering the plea bargain with the EFCC, which they wanted to force me into at all cost, means I would be convicted for a crime I did not commit and therefore become an ex-convict and this is what EFCC set out to achieve with me to enable them to generate more social media publicity hence the desperation in falsely declaring me wanted and misleading the public.
“I want the general public to know I am not wanted by the EFCC but rather the court-issued bench warrant for my production in court on the next court sitting, I didn’t steal from anyone or involved in any money laundering still don’t know why efcc are so jobless that they want to tarnish my image. Last last na international court go settle this matter @officialefcc.”
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