The Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has adjourned the trial of Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, till Wednesday, June 22 due to his absence.
This was disclosed by the Nigerian anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday via its verified Twitter handle.
According to EFCC, Justice Mojisola Dada said the trial could not proceed without Mompha’s presence on Thursday, June 16, 2022. Hence, it was adjourned till Wednesday, June 22.
SaharaReporters earlier reported that the anti-graft agency had informed an Ikeja Special Offences Court that social media celebrity Ismaila Mustapha (alias Mompha) disobeyed a court order by travelling to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates with a new passport.
Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, EFCC counsel, also told the court that the parties did not have a resolution due to the absence of the defendant in the country.
Also, according to Oyedepo, the defendant, Mompha, used a new passport to travel to Dubai, contrary to the order of the court, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
He said, “My lord granted bail to the defendant and ordered him to submit his international passport.
“The commission is not the only one on this matter and we heard from good authority that the defendant has a passport with No. D50084304, which was issued in Abuja on July 2021 and is to expire on June 30, 2031.
“From the information by our partner, the defendant had on April 11 hired an Emirate (airline) and flew from Ghana to Dubai. That passport is not the one submitted to this honourable court, my lord.
“The defendant did not travel through Nigeria. The issue now is that the defendant has a new passport at hand which he travelled with after my lord restricted him from travelling,” he had added.
But the defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole, SAN, objected to EFCC’s claim and urged the anti-graft agency to verify its claim from the Nigeria Immigration Service.
Oyewole said, “I have spoken with the prosecution concerning this my lord. When he called, I told him that there was a particular person who was our surety that was supposed to pay the N25 million.
“His account was frozen when the money got into his account. The man called the defendant and for the defendant’s safety, he told the man that he had travelled. But the man has a connection and concluded that the defendant has defiled the court order.
“My lord, the EFCC should write to Immigration to ascertain if my client really travelled out of the country or not.
“This is a superior court of record sir and I suggest that an application be brought concerning this because there is a lot of confusion here. We should have it on record, my lord.
“Let Immigration respond if another passport exists. The residency visa that he has to live in Dubai is already submitted in court so there is no way he can enter the country.”
It was gathered that a photocopy of the passport was shown to the defendant and he denied the signature on it.
EFCC counsel thereafter urged the court to stand down the case for 10 minutes so as to discuss it with the defence counsel.
The defence counsel, thereafter, urged the court to grant him one week to verify the claim of the prosecution.
“In the interest of justice, we have agreed with the prosecution to give me one week to verify the truth. I need to verify the truth, my lord,” Oyewole said.
The prosecution did not object to the submission of the defence counsel.
On June 2, the court fixed June 10 to take a final report on the plea bargain of the defendant.
The prosecution had informed the court on April 6 that both parties were in the process of arriving at a plea bargain, and prayed the court for adequate time.