Peter Ademola Adegoke, a prosecution witness and a Compliance Officer with Fidelity Bank Plc, told the Federal High Court In Ikoyi on Friday, how the sum of N18bn was allegedly paid into the account of a company, Ismalob Global Investments, belonging to Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha.
Recall Mompha was brought before a court of law on a 14-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N33 billion.
Adegoke, further told the court that investigation proved that Mompha was the sole signatory to Ismalob Global’s naira account.
Adegoke while reading from the bank statement told the court that there was an inflow of N18.5bn into the account, while a total of about N18bn moved out within the same period of 2015 to 2019. He concluded saying the account has a balance of N598,000.
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The first prosecution witness, PW1, Anne Nnenna Ezekannagha, a Manager in the Customers Service Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, told the court that Mompha’s company, Ismalob Ventures, had no license to operate as a Bureau de Change operator as the company was not registered with the CBN.
Ezekannagha further told the court that “We got a letter from the EFCC on the activities of Ismalob Global Ventures. “However, we have no history of the name with the CBN.”
She added that before the CBN can give licence to a firm as a BDC operator, such firm must show evidence of incorporation as a limited liability company by the Corporate Affairs Commission further explaining that all licensed BDCs have a transaction limit of $5,000.
Asked by the defence counsel, Gboyega Oyewole SAN, of it was unlawful for an individual who has foreign currency in his domiciliary account to give foreign currency to a friend in exchange for naira, the CBN official said it would not be unlawful if it was not a commercial transaction.
The lady also explained that such transaction becomes a commercial transaction if it involves making profit.
A Benin City-based BDC operator, Ikenna Okafor, who testified as another prosecution witness, told the court that he had transacted business with Ismalob Global Investment Limited through “one of its directors, Alhaji Ahmadu Mohammed.”
Okafor said Mohammed used to visit him in Benin, Edo State, to buy Euro in the name of Ismalob Global Investment Limited. “After negotiation with Ismalob Global Investment Limited through Alhaji Mohammed, he usually makes payment into my account through Ismalob,” Okafor said.
Okafor also said he only just met Mompha for the first time three days ago at the EFCC office in Ikoyi.