N6b money laundering: FBI agent testifies, EFCC tenders documents against Mompha

Social media celebrity, Mompha

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday tendered two documents in evidence against social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha (alias Mompha), charged with six billion Naira money laundering.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the documents were tendered through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent, Mr Ayotunde Solademi, before an Ikeja Special Offences Court.

The documents are a report by the FBI and an investigative report on Mompha’s iPhone which the agency claims was used for fraudulent activities.

The witness was led in evidence by EFCC counsel, Mr Suleiman Suleiman.

Defence counsel, Mr Kolawole Salami, objected to the admissibility of the two documents in evidence, arguing that they were public documents and must first be certified by the U.S Consulate.

“The documents are not certified true copies and should not be admitted in court,” Salami said.

Justice Mojisola Dada, however, overruled him and upheld the submission of prosecution counsel, who insisted that the FBI documents were original.

“The documents do not require certification,” Dada said.

Solademi, who works at the Legal Attaché Office of the FBI in Nigeria, had informed the court that he retrieved an iPhone belonging to Mompha with a Faraday bag.

He said that FBI’s forensic operations revealed that Mustapha’s iPhone was used to send account details to a United Arab Emirates telephone number, searched for swift codes of a bank and had a compromised Microsoft 365 account.

The witness further told the court that the FBI discovered during analysis that Mompha’s iPhone was also used to change payment delivery from cheque to wire transfer.

“The iPhone had a compromised Microsoft 365 account, and attackers used a fraudulent domain to socially engineer communication to Mompha’s company.

“The iPhone was used to make three attempts to transfer funds. The first two failed, but the third was successful,” Solademi said.

NAN reports that Mustapha’s trial in absentia started on June 3 when a compliance officer with Access Bank testified against him.

Prosecution had informed the court on May 15 that it had secured the arrest of Mustapha, in collaboration with its international partners.

The court, on Sept. 21 ordered the commencement of trial of the defendant in absentia after he failed to appear before it.

The EFCC had, on Jan. 22, arraigned Mustapha alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd., on eight counts bordering on six billion Naira laundering.

The court had, on June 22, issued a bench warrant for his arrest following his absence in court.

Dada also revoked the bail she granted the defendant.

The social media celebrity was equally absent in court on June 16.

NAN reports that, on June 10, EFCC accused him of flouting the court’s order by traveling to Dubai with a new international passport.

The charges against Mompha include conspiracy to launder money obtained through unlawful activities, and laundering of money obtained through unlawful activities.

The others are retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, use of property derived from an unlawful act, possession of a document containing false pretences, and failure to disclose assets.

The case has been adjourned until Nov. 1 for continuation of trial. (NAN)