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A Lagos State Special Offences Court, sitting in the Ikeja area has issued a bench warrant for the arrest of suspected internet fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha.
Justice Mojisola Dada issued the warrant following his continued failure to present himself for his trial.
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 N6billion.
The offence is contrary to relevant sections of the Advance Fee Fraud Act of 2006 and the EFCC Act of 2004.
He pleaded not guilty to all the counts.
On January 18, he was admitted to bail in the sum of N200 million with two sureties in like sum, One of the sureties, the judge ordered must own property valued at N100 million within the jurisdiction of the court.
The court also ordered the defendant to return his international passport to the custody of the court while ordering his remand in any Correctional Centre of his choice in Lagos pending the perfection of the bail conditions.
On March 28, he was released to his lawyer, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Gboyega Oyewole shortly after the court varied his bail conditions.
Since then, he has failed to appear in court on two scheduled dates for his trial.
At the proceedings on Wednesday, the judge stood down the matter for a while in expectation of the defendant’s arrival, yet he failed to appear in court again.
After conferring with the defence counsel, the EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo asked the court for a further stand down, but Justice Dada refused the request.
She asked, “Where is the defendant”?
Addressing the court, Oyedepo said that he was shocked at the absence of the defendant.
At that point, Justice Dada, noted that “the excuse that was initially given that he tested positive to COVID-19 was found to be false.”
The EFCC prosecutor subsequently urged the court to issue a warrant of arrest for the production of the defendant.
With no objections from the defence counsel, Justice Dada revoked the defendant’s bail and ordered his arrest.
She adjourned further proceeding till June 30, 2022.
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