The Federal High Court in Lagos has made an order for Dubai-based Nigerian Bureau De Change (BDC) operator, Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha, to be remanded in the prison custody, after he pleaded not guilty to a N33 billion money laundering charge levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Mompha was arraigned before Justice Mohammad Liman on Monday, November 25, on 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorization of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In the charges against him, the EFCC alleged that Mompha procured one Ismalob Global Investment Limited and retained in its bank account an aggregate of N32.9bn between 2015 and 2018.
The EFCC said Mompha “ought to have reasonably known that the money formed part of proceeds of unlawful act, to wit: fraud.”
Among other things, the Internet celebrity was also accused of negotiating foreign exchange transactions of various sums with various persons when he was not an authorised seller appointed by the CBN.
After the charges were read before him, Mompha pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all the 14-count charges.
Justice Mohammad Liman remanded him in prison custody and adjourned till Friday for hearing of his bail application and commencement of trial.
Meanwhile, KanyiDaily had reported that Mompha filed a N5 million suit against the EFCC to challenge his continued unlawful detention and violation of his human rights.
He prayed the court to order the EFCC to either immediately charge him to court or release him if it was not ready to charge him to court.