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Arrest of Mompha, Lebanese Associate A Landmark Achievement —- EFCC Boss Magu

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The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has described the recent arrest of an alleged Internet fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha and his Lebanese accomplice, Hamza Koudeih, as a landmark achievement in the sustained fight against internet-related frauds and money laundering in the country.

Magu said the arrest of Mompha and Hamza by operatives of the EFCC bore testimony to the commitment of the Commission to the fight against internet-related frauds, adding that “it is also a red alert to potential fraudsters.”

Speaking during an interactive session with stakeholders at the Lagos Zonal office of the Commission on Thursday, October 31, 2019, Magu said actionable intelligence received from local and international law enforcement agencies had revealed that the suspects, alongside their collaborators, were high-valued targets in Organized Cyber Syndicate Network (OCSN).

According to him, “The recent arrests of a social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, and his Lebanese collaborator, Hamza Koudeih, for their alleged involvement in internet-related fraud and money laundering remain a landmark achievement of the EFCC.

“I make bold to tell you that these arrests have further confirmed our commitment to the anti-graft war, while also sending a red alert to potential internet fraudsters.

“I am sure you will be greatly shocked to know that five wristwatches valued at over N60 million were recovered from the suspected internet fraudster, Mompha, at the point of arrest.

“Investigation has also revealed that he operates 51 bank accounts in Nigeria with which he acquires properties in Dubai and had laundered about N14 billion through a firm known as Ismalob Global Investments Limited.

“His accomplice, Koudeih, also has two firms namely: THK Services Limited and CHK properties Limited with which he has allegedly laundered about N19 billion.

“Koudeih lives in a $5 million per annum suite at the Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower, Victoria Island Lagos.”

The EFCC Chair also stated that the Commission had begun forensic analysis of the phones, documents and “strange” items recovered from both suspects.

“They will be charged to court accordingly as soon as investigation is concluded,” he added.

Magu also emphasized the fact that the Commission, prior to the arrests of both Mompha and Koudeih, had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the Internet fraudsters, popularly known as Yahoo Yahoo Boys, culminating in various strategic raids on their hideouts.

He further stated that the Commission had embarked on the raids even before the recently concluded collaborative operation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, tagged Operation Rewired – an international operation targeted at the Business Email Compromise (BEC) suspects across the world.

Magu added: “From January to date, the Lagos office of EFCC has made over 300 arrests, secured 207 convictions and recovered a good number of exotic cars. In addition, several properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime were sealed.”

He, therefore, charged the media to join hands with the Commission in sensitizing the members of the public about the evil of internet frauds as well as economic and financial crimes.

Magu, who described media professionals as critical stakeholders in the anti-graft war, said: “We must collectively strive to achieve the Nigeria of our dream, one that our children and even generations unborn will be proud of.

“It is very critical for you to understand that you owe the youths that the social responsibility of awakening their consciousness to the importance of a noble life devoid of crimes.

“We must continue to mentor our youths and impress it on them to shun crimes and its alluring temptation because it will always end in sorrow and regrets.

“For us, there will be no hiding place for fraudsters as the Commission will hunt and bring any errant and criminally-minded persons to justice.”

Magu also used the occasion to disclose that the Commission might soon put in place a policy of rehabilitating convicted internet fraudsters so that they could deploy “their computer wizardry to good use for the overall well-being of the society.”

He further disclosed to the stakeholders that the EFCC would commence the auctioning of recovered items soon, adding that the commission wants to ensure there is transparency in the process of auctioning the items.

“We have already commenced the process in Port Harcourt, where we will be auctioning 242 trucks that have been forfeited. We have so many recovered items that have been forfeited to the Federal Government that are waiting to be auctioned. The process should be properly coordinated in compliance with a judgment given by the court and that is why we have taken so much time,” he said.

Magu urged the stakeholders to join the EFCC in the fight against corruption by using their platform to expose the criminals and not promote them.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Court Finally Grants Shehu Sani N10m Bail

Peter Okunoren

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Senator Shehu Sani has been granted Ten Million naira (N10m) bail by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Sani who represented Kaduna Central, in the 8th senate was accused of collecting money in the name of the EFCC acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

A source familiar with the arrest told journalists that Mr Sani was arrested following a leak that he collected money from a popular Kaduna businessman to give Mr Magu.

Following a conflict between him and his former in-law, a famous Kaduna car dealer, Sani Dauda, was said to have been approached by Mr Sani to help him get EFCC to dig up alleged crimes of his estranged in-law.

A top source at the EFCC, who asked for anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said Mr Sani collected $10,000 from Mr Dauda.

But a source in Kaduna said Mr Sani returned the money to Mr Dauda after the deal leaked and the businessman was invited by EFCC to make a statement. Since his alleged extortion, Sani has been on the custody of EFCC.

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BREAKING: Court Convicts Husband Killer Maryam Sanda Of Murder, To Die By Hanging

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The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Monday convicted and sentenced Maryam Sanda to death by hanging for the murder of her husband, Bilyaminu Bello.

Delivering judgment, Justice Yusuf Halilu, held that there was circumstantial evidence coupled with her testimony and statement to the police that she “fatally” stabbed her husband to death in Abuja on November 19, 2017.

The judge orders that she should be remanded in Suleja prison till she exhausts her right of appeal.

Her deceased husband has been variously reported as a son or nephew of a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Haliru Bello.

Sanda, the mother of two, her mother and her other relatives broke down in tears immediately the judge pronounced her guilt.

Her mother who was occupying a back seat sped out of the court as she wept.

Sanda herself, while crying rushed out of the courtroom which was next to the dock but the judge ordered that she should be brought back to the courtroom.

In the middle of the confusion, the defense lawyer attempted to make a plea for allocutus (plea for mercy) but the judge said he needed to rise for the courtroom to be restored to normalcy.

The judge said he would return to deliver the sentence after some minutes.

When the judge returned from the break, he said the offense for which the convict was convicted being one based on Section 221 of the Penal Code, there would be no room for allocutus.

“It has been said that thous shall not kill. Whoever kills in cold blood shall die in cold blood,” the judge said.

“Maryam Sanda should reap what she has sown,” he said, adding, “it is blood for blood”.

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BREAKING: EFCC Produces Shehu Sani In Court Over Alleged Extortion

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Monday brought Shehu Sani, a former senator who represented Kaduna Central in the upper chamber, to a federal high court in Abuja to be arraigned on charges of extortion.

Sani has been in the custody of the EFCC since December when he was arrested. He was accused of collecting money in the name of the EFCC acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

A source familiar with the arrest told journalists that Mr Sani was arrested following a leak that he collected money from a popular Kaduna businessman to give Mr Magu.

Following a conflict between him and his former in-law, a famous Kaduna car dealer, Sani Dauda, was said to have been approached by Mr Sani to help him get EFCC to dig up alleged crimes of his estranged in-law.

A top source at the EFCC, who asked for anonymity as he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said Mr Sani collected $10,000 from Mr Dauda.

But a source in Kaduna said Mr Sani returned the money to Mr Dauda after the deal leaked and the businessman was invited by EFCC to make a statement.

Details later:

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