The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, says alleged Internet fraudster and social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha; and his Lebanese accomplice, Hamza Koudeih, laundered a combined N33bn.
Magu further stated that the two belonged to an international crime syndicate that did money laundering, especially in Dubai.
The EFCC boss said this at a Press conference in Lagos on Thursday.
He said, “The recent arrest 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, remains 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 N60m were recovered from the suspect.
“Investigation has also revealed that he operates 51 bank accounts in Nigeria, with which he acquired properties in Dubai; and had allegedly laundered about N14bn 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 N19bn.”
He said Koudeih lived in a $5m per annum suite at the Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower, Victoria Island, Lagos.
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 Organised Cyber Syndicate Network.
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 emphasised 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 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, tagged Operation Rewired — an international operation targeted at the Business Email Compromise, suspects across the world.
The EFCC boss said from January to date, the Lagos office of the Commission had 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 sensitising members of the public about the evil of internet frauds as well as economic and financial crimes.
Magu said the EFCC would commence the auctioning of recovered items soon, adding that it wants to ensure there is transparency in the auction process.