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Updated: Mompha remanded in EFCC custody

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By Moji Eniola

An Ikeja Special Offence Court on Tuesday ordered that a social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha alias Mompha, be remanded in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of conspiracy to launder N5.9billion.

The defendant was arraigned alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd on a fresh eight-count charge of fraud.

The defendant is also facing trial at the Federal High Court Lagos on a 22-count fraud charges proffered against him by the EFCC.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge of conspiracy to launder funds obtained through unlawful activity, laundering of funds obtained through unlawful activity and retention of proceeds of criminal conduct.

Other counts are use of property derived from unlawful act, possession of document containing false pretence and failure to disclose assets and properties.

Following the arraignment, the lead EFCC prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo requested for a trial date.

The defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, however informed the court that he had filed a bail application which had been served on the prosecution.

Responding, Oyedepo asked for time to respond to the bail application of the defence.

According to the EFCC, Mompha committed the alleged offence between 2016 to 2019 in Lagos.

Mompha is alleged to have conspired alongside Ahmadu Mohammed, now at large, to conduct N5.9billion worth of financial transactions with the intent of committing the offence of obtaining by false pretence.

The prosecution alleges that the defendant also conducted other illegal transactions.

“On Jan. 28, 2019, the defendant and his company, with the intent of promoting one Olayinka Jimoh alias ‘Nappy Boy’ conducted unlawful financial transactions in the sum of N32million.

“The said sum involves the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity which is obtaining by false pretence.

“On Feb. 11, 2019 he retained the aggregate sum of N20million on behalf of Jimoh which he was aware that the said sum were proceeds of Jimoh’s criminal conduct (obtaining by false pretence),” he said.

The EFCC alleges that Mompha on Feb.11, 2019 transferred the sum of N15.9million to Naptown Records and on Feb. 13, 2019 transferred the sum of N20million to Wisegate Sleek System.

The funds are alleged to be proceeds of crime (obtaining under false pretences).

On Feb. 3, 2020 the defendant allegedly had in his possession a document containing false pretence titled ‘Select Milk Producer J.P Morgan’ which was used to defraud Continental Diary Facilities LLC.

The EFCC also alleged that on Oct. 20, 2019 Mompha failed to furnish information in relation to his interest in expensive watches such as a Rolex Wristwatch, a Hublot Wristwatch,two Piguet Wristwatches, an Iphone 8 worth N70million.

“This is required in page 10 of the Declaration of Assets Forms and is therefore an offence,” the prosecutor said.

The alleged offences violate Sections 5(1) 6, 7 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and Sections 7, 18 and 27(3) of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004.

Justice Mojisola Dada adjourned the case until Jan. 18 for hearing of the bail application.

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Nation

Akande presents horse to Oyetola

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Former governor of Osun State and first interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande, on Thursday evening presented a horse to Osun State Governor Adegboyega Oyetola adding that the governor should ride the animal to power.  Governor Oyetola had after his strategic engagement tour of Ila Federal Constituency, visited Baba Akande at his residence in Ila.

The tour was part of the statewide consultation to the nine Federal Constituencies in Osun through which the governor has been fraternising with the newly elected APC executives at the wards and local government levels. The visit was also to inform them and party members of his intention to participate in the party’s forthcoming primaries in preparation for the July governorship election.  The highly symbolic presentation of the horse to Governor Oyetola by Chief Akande was seen as a declaration of unalloyed support for the person and candidature of Oyetola.

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Horse, political pundits say, symbolises strength, power, freedom, triumph, heroism, nobleness, stamina, tireless, confidence and intelligence.

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Nation

Fuel subsidy: Buhari postponing evil days -Ex ACF scribe

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From Sola Ojo, Kaduna

Erstwhile Secretary of the foremost northern sociocultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony N.Z. Sani has disagreed with President Muhammadu Buhari’s back down on earlier planned removal of subsidy on premium motor spirit popularly known as petrol.

To him, Nigerians would understand the need for such tough but necessary decision especially if there is a blueprint on how the money that will accrue from the subsidy removal will be distributed to cushion the effect on Nigerians over time.

Sani told Saturday Sun that, because of the dire financial situation of the country, he had opted for the removal of petroleum subsidy.

He further said, to appease the restive labour, he had suggested that any savings from the removal of petroleum subsidy be used for the development of health and education through an agency akin to the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF).

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“But it seems the labour has arm-twisted the government into reversing its determination to remove the subsidy. Some people attribute the decision to the president’s sensitivity to the plight and yearnings of the people while some others believe it is because it is the elections year.

“I agreed with the maxim that in matters of public affairs, there is time to stay the course, there is time to make compromises and there is time to let go, all for the larger good of all. Yet we must agree that we are in extenuating circumstances, which should make the president locate the courage of his conviction and act appropriately.

“Nigerians are also expected to know that the good things of life are not inevitable and attained through ceaseless hard work by all, and not by leaders alone. I agreed with Igbos when they say, ‘to be a man is not a day’s job’”

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Security forces kill 70 bandits in Niger forests, free 500 stolen cattle

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From John Adams, Minna

The total war against gunmen in Niger State declared by the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello two weeks ago has been yielding positive results, as the Joint Security Taskforce has neutralized over 70 armed bandits in the last one week.

The Joint Security Task Force, which also comprises special hunters in the state, have equally intercepted over 500 cattle.

The Joint Security Task Force has intensified it operation in the forests at Galadiman- Kogo, Kusasu, Alawa and Erena communities in Shiroro Local Government and Kutchi, Zagzaga, Guni and Katarma in Munya Local Government Area of the state.

The Commissioner of Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Internal Security, Emmanuel Umar confirmed the on-going operation when he spoke with newsmen in Minna, saying that a number of the gunmen have met their waterloo in the hands of the Joint Security Task Force.

He pointed out that the recovery consisted of over 300 cows and over 200 sheep, adding that many more were still being recovered as the gunmen are on the run.

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All the animals, which were rustled by the gunmen, he said were being kept under the care of the Ministry of Livestock in the state, waiting for the owners to come forward to claim them.

He disclosed that a number of the gunmen were heavily neutralized while some members of the Joint Security Task Force were killed during the encounter with the gunmen.

While appreciating the sacrifice of the security men to the state and the country in general, the commissioner assured that the government would take care of the families of the slain officers.

Umar said the onslaught against the gunmen in the state would be a continuous exercise until the state is rid of all rustlers, kidnappers and other criminal elements.

A number of the gunmen were arrested during the gun battle; the commissioner however did not disclose the number of arrest made so far.

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