Alleged N6bn Fraud: Absence of Defence Lawyer Stalls Mompha’s Trial.
The absence of the defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), in court on Wednesday stalled the trial in absentia of suspected internet fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited.
No reason was given for his absence. Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja had to adjourn the commencement of trial to December 16.
At the last sitting of the court, the judge had ordered the continuation of Mompha’s trial despite his continued absence in court. Justice Dada made the order at the instance of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The court made the order following a submission by the EFCC counsel, Mr Abbas Mohammed, that the defendant had jumped bail and the Commission had made frantic efforts to rearrest Mompha without success.
At the proceedings today, the EFCC Prosecutor, Mr. S. I Suleiman told the Court that the Commission was ready to proceed with the trial but Mompha’s counsel was absent.
“The learned Silk ought to appear for commencement of trial, we have two witnesses in court, they’ve been seated in the court,” he said.
The counsel was, however, disposed to allowing another adjournment for the defence team to appear in court.
Justice Dada subsequently adjourned to give the defence another opportunity to be present in court.
Mompha was arrested on January 10, 2022, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and arraigned on Jan. 12 alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, on an 8-count charge of alleged money laundering of over N6 billion.