On Wednesday, Ismaila Mustapha alias Mompha, a suspected internet fraudster, was the subject of a bench warrant issued by Justice Mojisola Dada of a Special Offences Court in Ikeja.
Mompha is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on eight counts of conspiracy and money laundering involving more than N6 billion. He is being tried in conjunction with Ismalob Global Investment Limited, his business.
Mompha was detained by the EFCC on January 10 but released on bail after being charged.
However, on both of the occasions set aside for his trial, the defendant did not show up in court. The defendant’s case was unable to continue at the most recent adjourned date because of his absence.
The judge temporarily put the case on hold when the hearing resumed on Wednesday in anticipation of the defendant’s arrival, but Mompha did not show up. Rotimi Oyedepo, the chief attorney for the EFCC, requested another stand-down from the court, but the judge denied the plea. Where is the defendant, she inquired?
Speaking to the court, Mr. Oyedepo expressed his disbelief at the occurrence. He pleaded with the judge to grant the defense’s request to communicate with his client and put him on speaker to state the facts. The explanation offered by Mompha’s attorney didn’t satisfy the judge.
Mr. Oyedepo, the prosecutor’s attorney, then pleaded with the court to order Mompha’s arrest. When the defendant appeared before your lordship, he stated, “My Lord should issue a warrant of arrest.” Justice Dada then ordered the defendant’s arrest after revoking his bail. She postponed further action until June 30.