The Nigerian anti-graft agency, EFCC, on Monday, dissociated itself from claims by Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha, wherein he claimed they advised him to maintain a low profile in the wake of the indictment of his friend, Abbas Ramon alias Hushpuppi in a $1.1m international fraud conspiracy by US Law enforcement.
Wilson Uwujaren, the EFCC spokesperson, debunked Mompha’s claims in a statement on Monday night.
PREMIUM TIMES on Monday reported Mompha as saying that the anti-graft agency contacted him after Hushpuppi was apprehended abroad.
He claimed that the EFCC asked him to delete his social media pages and maintain a low profile after the incident. Mompha made the remarks during an Instagram live show with a controversial broadcaster, Daddy Freeze, on Saturday.
Mr Uwujaren said: ‘‘The (Mompha’s) claim, which did not mention the official of the Commission who supposedly gave the advice, is spurious and should be discountenanced.
‘‘The Commission is not in the business of advising suspected internet fraudsters and it is far-fetched that it would counsel one against whom it has a pending criminal charge in court.
He also added that Mompha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Limited, are facing prosecution by the EFCC on a 22-count charge alleging various offences such as retention of proceeds of unlawful activities to wit; fraud, failure to report the transaction to the Commission as required by the provision of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 (as amended).
His other offences according to the EFCC include negotiating foreign exchange without license, contrary to Section 5 and 29 of the Foreign Exchange Monitoring and Miscellaneous (Provisions) Act, 2004; engaging in foreign exchange transaction other than through the official foreign exchange market, contrary to the provision of Section 11(1) (a) of the National Economic Intelligence Establishment Act to the tune of N32billion.
Mr Uwujaren said Mompha, who currently lives in Dubai, is still standing trial before A. M. Liman of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.
He said: ‘‘The Commission had called 10 witnesses and closed its case. But rather than enter his defense, Mompha filed a no-case submission which was overruled by the Court and called upon to open his defense.”
The Dubai-based BDC operator, who also said the EFCC targeted him for no reason, also expressed displeasure at the manner in which some Nigerians on social media rejoiced over his arrest.
This newspaper has published the news of Mompha’s arrest including how a Federal High Court in Lagos, ordered the EFCC to release all items it seized from him.
The items include five luxury wristwatches, an Apple iPod, an iPhone 8 device, and a pair of sunglasses, which were among other items found on him when he was arrested on October 19, 2019, in Abuja.
During his interview session with Daddy Freeze, Mompha claimed EFCC unjustly punished him.