An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecution witness, Abiodun Audu, in the ongoing trial of internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, yesterday denied ever meeting him in the course of filing his company’s tax return.
The witness, Audu, who claimed to be a Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), told the Justice Muhammad Liman, of the Federal High court sitting in Lagos, that it was one Alhaji Hamodu, a director in Mompha’s company, Ismalob Global investments Limited, that contacted him to file the tax return for the company.
Mompha alongside is company are being tried by the EFCC, over alleged money laundering to the tune of N33 billion.
Both Mompha and his company are facing a 14-count-charge bordering on operating BDC without registration with CBN and other regulating Ministries, failure to comply with the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment in carrying out and unlawful negotiation of foreign exchange.
According to EFCC the offences committed contravened Sections 18(c) and 15(2)(d) of the money laundering prohibition Act,2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.
He had pleaded not guilty to all the counts. At the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the witness, who was led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, S. I. Suleiman, said he was contacted by one Alhaji Hamodu, a director with Ismalob Global Investment Limited, to input July 2016 to June 2017, in his tax return to the FIRS.
He also testified that it was at the EFCC’s office that the document relating to the tax return was shown to him when he was invited in 2020. During cross-examination by Mompha’s counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN) who led Kolawole Salami and Ademola Adefolaju, the witness said he only relates with Alhaji Hamodu, adding that he never met with the defendant, Mompha.
He also told the court that the information on the company’s self-assessment form was supplied by Alhaji Hamodu, who he said he knew to be a Bureau De Change operator. And that during the said period, Mompha was residing in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE).
The witness, while being re-examined by the prosecutor, said both Alhaji Hamodu and Mompha’s signatures were on the company’s tax Self-assessment form. Following the conclusion of the witness evidence, the prosecutor, asked the court for an adjournment, to enable him to present the last witness in the matter.
Meanwhile, Mompha’s counsel, Oyewole (SAN), who didn’t object to the adjournment, informed the court that the adjournment request of the prosecution, is unwarranted, as the agency, promised to produce all its witness today (yesterday), at the last court sitting. Consequently, Justice Liman ordered the prosecutor to ensure that all the remaining witnesses are in court, on the next adjourned date. The matter was however adjourned till July 10, for the continuation of trial.