A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday further adjourned until Dec. 9, ruling on a no-case submission by an internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha (Mompha) standing trial for alleged N32.9 billion fraud.
Mustapha is charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and operation of a foreign exchange business without authorisation by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He was arraigned alongside a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge, and was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with one surety in the like sum.
Ruling on the no-case submission could not take place on Wednesday as the court did not sit.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Mohammed Liman had on Oct. 14, adjourned the case for ruling after submissions by prosecution and defence.
EFCC accused the defendant of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Ltd. and retaining in its account, an aggregate sum of N32.9 billion from 2015 to 2018.
The prosecution closed its case on July 17 after calling its 10th witness.
On Oct. 14, defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), informed the court that he filed a no-case submission dated Aug. 11.
Oyewole submitted that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant.
In his response, EFCC counsel, Mr Suleiman Suleiman, asked the court to determine whether evidence adduced by prosecution sufficiently linked the defendant to the offences to warrant him to be called on to open his defence and make explanations.
He also adopted his submissions and urged the court to direct the defendant to begin defence.
Defence counsel, in response, also adopted his reply on points of law in urging the court to hold that the prosecution failed to make out a case against the defendant.
The EFCC alleged that Mompha laundered the sum of N32.9 billion through Ismalob Global Investment Ltd. from 2015 to 2018.
Both defendants were alleged to have negotiated foreign exchange transactions in various sums such as N9.4 million, N20 million, N10.4 million, N2.4 million, N100 million, N61 million, N40.7 million, N42 million.
Mustapha was also alleged to have aided Ismalob to retain an aggregate sum of N 14 billion in its account, which was procured from Pitacalize Ltd.
The alleged offences contravene the provisions of Sections 15(2) and 18(3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011 as amended. (NAN)