By Sumayyah Olapade
Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, a social media celebrity, has reacted to being declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by accusing the agency of blackmail and intimidation.
On June 30, 2022, it was reported that Mompha’s absence had stalled his alleged N6 billion money laundering trial before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court.
The embattled social media celebrity was then declared wanted for criminal offense in a notice signed by its spokesperson, Wilson Uwajaren, on Wednesday.
Mompha responded to the notice in lengthy Instagram posts on Thursday, claiming that the EFCC, through its lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, used his absence to blackmail him.
Mompha detailed the history of his arrest and arraignment by the EFCC in a statement titled ‘Mompha Wanted By The EFCC’ – The Truth Story.
Mompha stated, “On the 10th of December 2021, after my arrest and arraignment on the first case at the Federal High Court Lagos, the court gave me judgment and ordered EFCC to release my wrist watches and other valuables in their custody to me for having been unlawfully seized.
“Being a bitter agency, the EFCC came up with other fabricated charges in response to the court’s decision to release my wristwatches.
“On the 10th of January 2022, while I was at their office in Okotie Eboh to retrieve my wristwatches in accordance with the court’s judgment, they held me down at their office and charged me to court the following day on frivolous charges.
“I was arraigned before a familiar EFCC judge and, in effect, I was given a very difficult bail to meet, as a result of which I ended up spending over two months in prison custody while attempting to meet the difficult bail.
“After several failed attempts to meet the bail conditions, I successfully applied for the bail conditions to be reduced, resulting in my release.
“Upon my release, I traveled outside Nigeria to check on the welfare and well-being of my family and returned to Nigeria shortly only for the EFCC Corrupt lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, rather than focusing on the establishment of his criminal case against me along with the EFCC operative Kaina Garba, chose to capitalize on the fact that I travelled to blackmail me into entering plea bargain with EFCC otherwise he would inform the Judge I travelled and ensure my bail is revoked thus.
“I initially refused, but after so much blackmail and intimidation by Rotimi Oyedepo, I succumbed and was told to pay N142 million naira to the EFCC as compensation and also sign for a one-year imprisonment sentence, which I was uncomfortable with, which they later reduced to N40 million naira and one year imprisonment.
“When it became clear to the EFCC that I was not going to sign the plea bargain and play their game, they informed the Judge that I travelled, despite the lack of concrete evidence and disregard.
“Finally, it was obvious entering the plea bargain with the EFCC, which they wanted to force me into at all costs, meant I would be convicted for a crime I did not commit and thus become an ex convict,” Mompha said of being declared wanted.
“And this is what the EFCC set out to accomplish with me in order to generate more social media publicity, thus the desperation in falsely declaring me wanted and misleading the public.
“I want the general public to know that I am not wanted by the EFCC, but rather by a bench warrant issued by the court for my appearance in court on the next court sitting.
“I did not steal from anyone or engage in money laundering. I still don’t understand why the EFCC is so desperate for money that they want to tarnish my image. last last na international court will settle this matter.”