Mompha named in fresh N157m fraud charge against 606 Autos’ boss

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has named internet celebrity, Ismail Mustapha, alias Mompha, in its amended N157.1million fraud charge filed against an auto dealer, Sarumi Babafemi, alias 606.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has named internet celebrity, Ismail Mustapha, alias Mompha, in its amended N157.1million fraud charge filed against an auto dealer, Sarumi Babafemi, alias 606.

Mompha has since November 25, 2019 been facing a separate 14-count N32.9 billion money laundering charge before Justice Mohammed Liman of the Federal High Court (FHC) in Lagos.

Babafemi is the Chief Executive Officer of 606 Autos Ltd; 606 Music Ltd and Splash Off Entertainment Ltd.

He and his firms have since November 1, 2019 been on trial a five-count charge before Justice Chuka Obiozor of the FHC for allegedly laundering N207.1million.

Babafemi was accused by the EFCC of being an agent of fraud suspects named by the United State’s Federal Investigation Bureau (FBI), an allegation he denied.

But, Monday, the EFCC brought an amended nine-count charge of January 22, 2021 against Babafemi, Mompha and two others, before Justice Chukwujeku Aneke.

The others listed in the charge marked FHC/L/CS/374c/2019, are: Ridwan Momodu Allison, a.k.a. Osama said to be at large and Richard Ogbah.

Babafemi, Mompha, Ridwan and Richard, were alleged to have laundered N157.1 million.

The beneficiaries of the said funds are: Omojadesola Shittu Allison; Olandewaju Oriyomi; Abiola Kayode Ayorinde; Bartholomew Oluchukwu Ezeudoka and Amobi Uchenna E., who were said to have received the sums of N37.6 million; N93 million; N1.5 million and N25 million respectively.

Babafemi and his firms were also accused of concealing and disguising the origins of the funds he allegedly laundered for Mompha and others.

The offences, according to the EFCC, contravened sections 15(2)(b) and 15(3)(a) and were punishable under section 15(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).

But the scheduled re-arraignment and trial of Babafemi and his firms on the fresh charge could not go on.

EFCC counsel, Ayanfe Ogunshina, prayed the court to allow the charge to be read to the defendants for so they could take their plea.

He sought permission to proceed with the trial, as one of his five witnesses was in court and ready to testify.

But defence counsel, Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN), opposed the application, on the ground that the amended charge was served on them while they were in court.

Banire also told the court that in the event that it was inclined to take his clients’ plea, he would need to study the charge before trial proceeded.

In deciding the parties’ submissions and with their agreement, Justice Aneke adjourned till April 21, 22 and 23.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.