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$7.069m, £1m, €8000 fraud: Lebanese, Nigerian accomplice remanded

$7.069m, £1m, €8000 fraud: Lebanese, Nigerian accomplice remanded

A Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday remanded a suspected Lebanese money launderer, Hamza Koudeih, and his alleged Nigerian accomplice Kayode Philip, alias Voice of the King.

Justice Sule Hassan ruled that Koudeih and Philip are to remain in Correctional Services Custody till December 5, when their bail applications will be heard and determined.

Both men pleaded not guilty to a 25-count charge of conspiracy, phishing, spamming and unlawful conversion preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The defendants were alleged to have sometimes in May, 2019, conspired to unlawfully convert $7,069 million, £1 million and €80,000, which were proceeds of unlawful act.

They were also accused of attempting to retain $700,000 in Multi Currency account No. 012-611-2-009379-4 domiciled in Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited in the name of Pung Shen Technology Trading Co. Limited, “which sum you reasonably ought to have form part of the proceeds of fraud.”

In another instance, they allegedly sometime in the months of July and October, 2019, unlawfully retained £1 million and £3.5 million in a multiple currency account number 012-968-2-002658-3 domiciled in Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd in the name of Hong Kong Zhongli Industrial Co. Limited.

Philip, who was charged in all the 25 counts charge, was alleged to have unlawfully retained N30.250 million in United Bank of Africa Plc (UBA) account numbers 102030764 and 107030764, belonging to Influx Computer and Hardware Ltd and DAKOTA Entertainment Limited.

The offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. A. O. Muhammad, contravened sections 18(a), 15(2)(d), 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2015 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.

The offences also contravened sections 27(1)(b), 28(2), 32(2) and 33(9) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc)Act,2015 and punishable under Section 32 (2) of the same Act.

Following their not guilty plea, the prosecutor urged the court to remand both defendants in prison custody, and applied for a trial date.

Defence counsel Oludare Falana and Hamid Muhammad, said they had filed their clients’ bail applications and had served the prosecution.

Falana and Muhammad also told the court that the prosecutor was yet to respond to their application. They urged the court for a short date to hear the applications.

On the question of place of remand, Falana prayed the court that his client be remanded in the custody of the EFCC, while Muhammad told the court that his Lebanese client had selected to be remanded in the custody of Nigeria Correctional Services.

Justice Hassan adjourned the hearing and determination of defendants bail applications till December 5, and fixed January 14, 15 and 16 2020, for commencement of defendants’ trial. The EFCC had on October 26 arrested Koudeih in his multi-million dollar Victoria Island luxury apartment in Lagos.

The EFCC claimed that Koudeih pays an annual rent of $5m for the apartment in the 33-storey Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower, Victoria Island

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