Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has described the recent arrest of 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,. He added that “it is also a red alert to potential internet fraudsters.”
Speaking during an interactive session with stakeholders at the Lagos Zonal office of the Commission on Thursday, 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 N60million 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 N14billion 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 N19billion. Koudeih lives in a $5million 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 that “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.”