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Nigeria Newspapers

Fidelity Bank staff member testifies against Mompha in court

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Published By: Michael Adesina

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, May 20, 2024, presented its fifth prosecution witness, PW5, Ezekoli Ozoemenam, a staff of Fidelity Bank Plc, in the money laundering trial of Ismaila Mustapha, (a.k.a Mompha) before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos.

The Lagos Zonal Command of the EFCC had on January 12, 2022 arraigned Mompha alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy to launder funds obtained through unlawful activity, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, laundering of funds obtained through unlawful activity, failure to disclose assets and property, possession of documents containing false pretences and use of property derived from unlawful act.

One of the counts reads: “Ismaila Mustapha, Ahmadu Mohammed (at large) and Ismalob Global Investment Limited, sometime in 2016, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired amongst yourselves to conduct financial transactions to the tune of N5,998,884,653.18 ( Five Billion Nine Hundred and Ninety-eight Million, Eight Hundred and Eighty-four Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty-three Naira Eighteen Kobo), with the intent of promoting the carrying on of specified unlawful activities to wit: obtaining by false pretence.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were read to him.

On September 22, 2022, Justice Dada ordered that the trial of Mompha would continue in absentia, after he jumped bail.

At Monday’s proceedings, Ozoemenam, a compliance officer with the bank, who was led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, S.I. Suleiman, told the court that the bank received requests from the EFCC as part of the EFCC’s investigation.

“We received request from the EFCC for the account opening package of the defendant, to which we responded”, he said.

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He, thereafter, identified the correspondence between the bank and the EFCC, when a copy was shown to him in the open court.

“This is the same document which we provided to the EFCC and it was printed from a perfectly working computer system,” he said.

The prosecution then tendered the documents containing the account opening package and urged the court to admit them into evidence.

However, defence counsel, Kolawole Salami, said he would reserve his objection to the application.

Under cross-examination, NAIJAONPOINT told the court that the account was opened in 2016, “and as at that time, I was part of the internal control, and I moved from branch to branch”.

He further testified that anomalies in bank accounts are reported to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU.

The case has been adjourned till July 1, 2024 for continuation of trial.

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