Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, Thursday described the arrest of the alleged Internet fraudster and social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha aka Mompha; and his Lebanese accomplice, Hamza Koudeih, as a major landmark.
Magu alleged that the duo had been able to launder more than N33 billion.
The EFCC boss added that the two belonged to an international crime syndicate that specialised in money laundering, most especially in Dubai.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Thursday, Magu 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 N60 million 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 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.”
The EFCC chairman explained that Koudeih lived in a $5 million per annum suite at the Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower, Victoria Island in 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.
He 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 explained that apart from the recent arrests of Mompha and Koudeih, the commission had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the internet fraudsters, popularly known as Yahoo Boys, leading to various strategic raids on their hideouts.
The EFCC boss added that the commission had carried these 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.
He said from January to date, the EFCC Lagos Office made over 300 arrests, secured 207 convictions and recovered a good number of exotic cars.
Besides, Magu said several properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime were sealed, and enjoined 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.
He used the opportunity to announce that EFCC would soon commence the auctioning of recovered items, assuring that the auctioning would be transparently done.