An alleged fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha a.k.a. Mompha, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to apologize over an alleged libellous publication.
Mompha made the demand in a letter signed by his lawyer, Gboyega Oyewole.
The Instagram celebrity warned the EFCC that failure to comply within 14 days will cause him to take legal action.
According to Mompha, “DEMAND FOR A RETRACTION AND APOLOGY FOR LIBELOUS PUBLICATION MADE AGAINST ME BY THE EFCC!!!! I have through my lawyers demanded a retraction and apology for the libelous and defamatory publication made against my person by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the 13th of September 2021. This forms part of the series of other publications and calculated attempt by the EFCC to defame me without due regard for the truth and the correct position of facts. I therefore shall not hesitate to take legal action against the EFCC if they fail to offer a retraction of the publication and tender an apology to me within the next 14 days“
Oyewole said the anti-graft agency’s spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren made a libellous and defamatory statement about Mompha.
The legal practitioner insists his client is not a criminal or fraudster as painted in the publication and had nothing to do with convicted Hamza Koudeih (HK).
Last week, Justice Tijjani Garba Ringim of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, convicted and sentenced Koudeih, a Lebanese, to one-year imprisonment.
Koudeih and Kayode Phillips were arraigned by the EFCC on November 28, 2019, before Justice Muslim Hassan on a 25-count bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.
Uwujaren described the duo and Mompha as high-valued targets in Organised Cyber Syndicate Network who engaged in various cyber crimes.
In one of the counts, EFCC said Phillips (a.k.a Voice of the King) and Koudeih (a.k.a. HK), in May 2019, converted the aggregate sum of $7,069,000; £1 million and €80,000, part of proceeds of fraud.
Their offence was contrary to Sections 18 (a), 15 (2)(d) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2015 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
Uwujaren disclosed that Koudeih approached the prosecution for a plea bargain and that EFCC, through its counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, filed the agreement with an amended charge on September 8, 2021.
Delivering judgment, Justice Ringim sent Koudeih to prison but gave him an option N1 million fine.
He ordered forfeiture of HK’s N100 million in a bank account owned by CHK Property Investment Ltd; Mercedes Benz GLE43; two iPhones and an HP Desktop computer to the Federal Government.
In his letter, Oyewole told the EFCC that nowhere in any of the charges against Koudeih was Mompha mentioned nor found to be an accomplice.
The lawyer informed the commission that Mompha has never been convicted of any crime in Nigeria even though he faces charges on offences bordering on operating a Bureau de Change (BDC) without a licence.
“It is embarrassing that an organisation of EFCC’s level would hastily defame a suspect, who to their knowledge is being prosecuted by the organisation and has not been convicted of any crime known to law in Nigeria.
“We wish to request that the organisation through its image maker Wilson Uwajaren retract the blanket statement against our client forthwith and with the same publicity as was given to his previous press release on the matter.
“If you fail to heed the request of our client within 14 days of the receipt of this letter, we shall be constrained to proceed to the court of law against your organisation for exemplary damages for injurious falsehood”, the letter added.