A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered the forfeiture of 11 expensive items seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from Ismalia Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha.
The items include five luxury wristwatches, five luxury sunglasses, and a phone which were confiscated from Mompha when he was arrested by the EFCC in 2019 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe international airport, Abuja.
Justice Lewis Allagoa made the order, stating that the items will remain confiscated while the investigation of Mompha and his company Ismalob Global investment Ltd is ongoing.
Mompha and his company have been facing a 14 count money laundering charge of 32.9bn before Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court (FHC) in Lagos.
The 11 luxury items are a Dsquared sunglass; Tomford – TF586 sunglass; Cartier – B17C76B sunglass; Montblanc – MB0045S sunglass and a Louis Vuitton- Z1186E sunglass.
The five wristwatches are a Rolex Oyster Perpetual; Audemars Piguet; Audemars Piguet- J46220; XY Hublot – 1321920; and an XY Hublot- 924206.
The iPhone 8’s serial number is C8PVF1LKJC6C.
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Allgoa gave the order after hearing an ex-parte application argued by EFCC counsel, Chinenye Ugwoke on Wednesday, October 13.
The EFCC went ahead to support its application by submitting an affidavit from an investigating officer Bot Dachung.
Dachung stated that: “The purpose of this application is to prevent the respondents from tampering and/or dissipating the properties listed in the schedule to this application which are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities.
“If the properties listed in the schedule to this application are not temporarily and timeously forfeited, efforts of the ongoing investigation relating to internet/cyber-related crimes and possible prosecution would be brought to a nought.”
The EFCC told the judge that the items were “found in the possession of the 1st Respondent (Mompha), which property/asset is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities and currently in the lawful custody of the Applicant.”
According to the agency, a preliminary investigation revealed various intelligence reports linking Mompha with chains of internet/cybercrime activities.
It further alleged that there “have been concerted ongoing investigation activities against the Respondents with respect to the 1st Respondent’s (alleged) involvement in cybercrime activities.
“The properties listed in the schedule to this application were recovered from the 1st Respondent upon his arrest by the Operatives of the Applicant, hence this application.
“That efforts and attempts have been made by the 1st Respondent through his legal representatives to retrieve the said properties listed in the schedule to this application.”
In a bench ruling, Justice Allagoa granted the order as prayed.
Justice Liman on October 12, 2020, dismissed Mompha’s ‘no case’ application in his case with the EFCC.
The judge held that the EFCC had established a prima facie case against Mompha, requiring him to explain himself.