The trial of suspected fraudster Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, has started with three witnesses testifying against him at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The suspected fraudster is facing 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday alongside a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Limited.
The EFCC accused Mompha of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Limited and retaining in its bank account an aggregate of N32.9 billion between 2015 and 2018.
At the opening of the trial on Friday, a compliance officer with Fidelity Bank, Peter Adegoke, who testified as the second prosecution witness, told Justice Mohammed Liman that Ismalob Global Investment Limited has a bank account domiciled in the bank.
Adegoke said Mompha was the sole signatory to the naira account.
Reading from the firm’s statement of account, Adegoke, who was led in evidence by the EFCC lawyer, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that between 2015 and October 2019, there was a total inflow of N18.5 billion into the account while a total of about N18 billion moved out within the same period, he added that the account had a balance of N598,000.
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, Adegoke affirmed that his bank would not involve itself in anything unlawful.
Asked whether the bank at any time reported transactions in the firm’s account as being suspicious, Adegoke said, “Yes, we reported to the NFIU (Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit).”
The witness was also asked what the NFIU’s response was and the responded, “They (NFIU) don’t need to respond to us.”
When asked if there was any sanction following the report to the NFIU, Adegoke said he would not know.
When Oyewole insisted that as a compliance officer, who is responsible for the freezing of bank accounts at the requests of anti-graft agency, he should know if there was a sanction, Adegoke explained that Fidelity Bank has a desk that handles reports to the NFIU, adding “I can’t say I know about all sanctions.”