A Special Offences Court, Ikeja in Lagos on Wednesday issued a bench warrant for the arrest of embattled Internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, aka Mompha, after he failed to appear in court on two scheduled dates for his trial.
Ismaila Mustapha is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 8 counts bordering on alleged conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of over N6 billion, along with his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited.
Mompha was arrested on January 10, 2022, by EFCC, arraigned and granted bail.
He was then taken into custody by the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for being on the EFCC watchlist.
He is alleged to have used his companies to receive illicit funds on behalf of internet fraudsters, popularly known as ‘Yahoo Yahoo boys’ from across the world in return for commission/percentage.
However, the defendant has failed to appear in court on two scheduled dates for his trial.
At the last adjourned date, the defendant’s matter could not proceed due to his absence.
At the resumed proceedings on Wednesday, Justice Mojisola Dada stood down the matter for a while in expectation of the defendant’s arrival, yet he failed to appear in court again.
The EFCC lead counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo asked the court for further stand down, but the request was turned down by the judge, who subsequently asked, ‘Where is the defendant?’
Addressing the court, Oyedepo told the court that he was shocked by the development.
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At that point, Justice Dada, said, “The excuse that was given that he tested positive for COVID-19 was found to be false.”
The prosecution counsel, Oyedepo thereafter, urged the judge to issue a warrant of arrest to ensure the defendant is produced in court.
Subsequently, Justice Dada revoked the defendant’s bail and ordered his arrest.
She adjourned further proceeding till June 30, 2022.