Alleged N6bn fraud: More trouble for Mompha, as court admits FBI report, others against him
An Ikeja Special Offences Court has admitted more documents in the ongoing trial of a social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha a.k.a. Mompha in absentia.
Mompha’s trial in absentia commenced on June 3 before the court.
Ismaila Mustapha is facing an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of over a billion before Justice Mojisola Dada.
He was arraigned alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited.
During resumed proceedings on Monday, September 18, Justice Dada admitted more documents in evidence against Mompha.
The two documents which were tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuting counsel, Suleiman Suleiman included a report by the USA-based Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and an investigative report on Mompha’s iPhone which the agency claimed was used for fraudulent practices. The defence counsel led by Kolawole Salami objected to the admissibility of the two documents as evidence on the grounds that since they are public documents, they must first be certified by the United States Consulate. Salami argued: “The documents are not a certified true copy, and should not be admitted in court.”
Justice Dada, however, overruled the defence counsel’s objection.
The court upheld the submission of the prosecution who maintained that the FBI documents were original.
Dada ruled: “The documents do not require certification.”
Earlier during the cross-examination of the prosecution’s witness, the defence counsel, Salami, had called for the documents labelled as exhibit P2 and P3.
Salami argued that the FBI documents are not to be used in a legal proceeding except after a separate communication has been made.
The prosecution witness, Solademi in his testimony responded that the communication from the FBI allowed for the use of the documents in court.
Solademi, who works at the Legal Attaché office of the FBI in Nigeria informed the court that he had retrieved an iPhone belonging to Mompha with a Faraday bag.
He said the FBI’s forensic operations revealed that Mompha’s iPhone was used to send account details to a United Arab Emirates (UAE) telephone number, search for Swift Codes of a bank, and had a compromised Microsoft 365 account.
“The iPhone had a compromised Microsoft 365 account and attackers used a fraudulent domain to socially engineer communication to their Mompha’s company.”
The prosecution witness also told the court that the FBI discovered, during analysis, that Mompha’s iPhone was also used to change payment delivery from cheque to wire transfer, after a third attempt.
Solademi said: “The iPhone was used to make three attempts to transfer funds. The first two failed, but the third was successful.”
Justice Dada has adjourned the matter till November 1, 2023.
Mompha was arrested on January 10, 2022, by EFCC, arraigned before the court, and was granted bail.
The defendant has since then, failed to appear in court on two scheduled dates for his trial. Nation