A federal high court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release all items seized from Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha.
Following an application filed on July 6 by Mompha’s counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), Justice Liman ordered the return of the items which include five luxury wristwatches, an apple iPod, an iPhone 8 device and a pair of sunglasses.
These items the court ordered to be released are reportedly among the items found on him during his arrest last October 19 in Abuja.
While acknowledging that the prosecution has the right to seize a property during an arrest and also a duty to approach the court for an interim order, the federal high court judge stated that due process must be observed and failure to do this is considered illegal.
Liman further averred that the items had been with the EFCC for eight months already.
“None of these items was listed as exhibit, none of the items was listed on the charge. At this stage, there is nothing on record that the items seized is being investigated on.
“The retention of the property without compliance with due process violates the requirements of Section 29 of the Act”
“Failure to release the property is illegal. As at today, no charge has been filed regarding the items. It is too long to withhold the applicant properties.”
Mompha is standing trial alongside his company, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd on an amended twenty two-count charge bordering on cyber fraud and money laundering to the tune of N33 billion.