The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has revealed how suspected internet fraudster and social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as Mompha; and his Lebanese accomplice, Hamza Koudeih were arrested after allegedly laundering the sum of N33billion.
In a statement published on the website of the anti-graft agency, Koudeih is a Lebanese, resident in Lagos, Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower.
The statement reads, “he has high net worth allies that include social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha popularly known as (Mompha), whom the Commission picked up on Friday, 18 October 2019 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, while he was on his way to Dubai, United Arab Emirate. Mompha’s arrest laid the path to that of Koudeih,”
EFCC unearthed further that Mompha camouflages as a bureau de change operator and has used his firm-Ismalob Global Investments Limited-to launder about N14 billion while Koudeih through his THK Services Limited and CHK properties Limited has laundered about N19 billion.
“Evidently, the two are kingpins in a criminal web of cybercriminals who through the three firms, laundered a jaw-dropping N33 billion.
“Before the arrest, EFCC added that both men had featured on its and United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) radar as a high valued target in Organised Cyber Syndicate Network (OCSN) and particularly as honchos in a trans-national network of cybercriminals.
“Worrisome is that Mompha was able to successfully operate 51 fraudulent bank accounts, through which the monies were laundered even with the enhanced account tracking and surveillance which the Bank Verification Number (BVN), introduced by the Central Bank of Nigerian in February 2014 provides,” the statement added.
Revealing how Koudeih was arrested in his house in Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower, the commission narrated, “Armed with precision Intel, additionally gathered by the EFCC, its operatives tracked him to his lair in Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower and placed the piece of the real estate, where he has his apartment on a lockdown.
“The lack of cooperation from the Lebanese as well as that from the owners and administrators of Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower left the EFCC with two options-beats a retreat or muscle through. It settled for the latter, reinforcing with men and breaching tools against the armoured door.
“The operatives relentlessly deployed the tools against the door, expending more than three gruelling hours before they overcame.”
Head Cybercrime, EFCC, describing the arrest said “It was very difficult to gain entry. It was almost like a standoff. We had to send for reinforcement of officers and breaching tools from the office. We had to breach the triple-reinforced fire-proof door before we could get in.”
In his reaction, the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, said Koudeih and Mompha’s arrests are landmark achievements for the Commission in its fight against cyber crimes and a red alert to potential fraudsters.
Ibadan: 89 ‘Yahoo-Boys’ Nabbed By EFCC At ‘Club 360’ with Exotic Cars, Laptops, Phones
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibadan zonal office, at the weekend, successfully arrested 89 suspected internet fraudsters at the popular Club 360 located on the Akala Expressway, Oluyole Extension in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
According to the acting Head, Media and Publicity and spokesperson of the EFCC, Tony Orilade: “in preparation for the late night operation, officers of the commission had carried out series of discreet surveillance on the nature of activities going on in the nightclub which, according to intelligence, was notorious for harboring suspected internet fraudsters”.
He added that the raid also led to the confiscation of scores of vehicles, laptops, sophisticated phones and other items.
The suspects are undergoing further interrogation.
In Ilorin, EFCC arrests wanted internet fraud suspect, five others
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested six internet fraud suspects including 22-year-old Sadiku Muniru Dolapo who has been on the Commission’s wanted list.
The suspects were arrested by the Ilorin Zonal Office of the Commission.
Arrested with Dolapo are Atanda Femi Benjamin, Atoyebi Samson, Olapade Oladimeji Solomon, Amoo Saheed and Lawal Opeyemi Mubarak.
The commission says they were rounded up in the early hours of Thursday, January 16, 2020, close to Kwara State House of Assembly, Ilorin, the state capital, following intelligence.
The Suspects upon interrogation by the operatives of the Commission confessed to their involvement in cybercrimes.
Items recovered from them include three expensive automobiles, laptop computers, and mobile phones.
According to a statement by the EFCC, they will soon be charged to Court.
We established Operation Amotekun to narrow gaps in security sector – Makinde
Oyo State Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, on Wednesday declared that the Western Nigeria Security Network codenamed Operation Amotekun was established to complement the work of the security agencies and bridge the gaps in the security of the geopolitical zone.
He made this position against the backdrop of the statement credited to the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, in which the Minister claimed the outfit was illegal.
The Governor claimed that the Minister’s comment was misguided, as according to him, he was not empowered to make such declaration.
A statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Makinde, Mr. Taiwo Adisa, indicated that the Governor said this during a visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta.
He statement added that since the Attorney-General’s position was not conveyed through any official correspondence, it should be taken with a pinch of salt, as the Governor stated, government cannot be run on pages of newspapers or through the social media.
According to Governor Makinde, Operation Amotekun has not in any way violated the Constitution, but rather, it was an intervention to narrow the gaps in security in the South-West.
He added that given the centrality of security to governance, the Governors of the South-West designed the Operation to complement efforts of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies.
He said that the Operation was designed to help in combating insecurity in all the nooks and crannies of the South-West states of Nigeria.
Governor Makinde said: “You don’t run a government on social media. If I see a letter or receive a call from the Attorney-General of the Federation saying that Amotekun is illegal, it will be a different reaction. For now, I have been reading on social media just like you and I have not seen anything official to that effect. Besides, I don’t think that in a country like Nigeria, the Attorney-General should just wake up and make his own law. He may interpret and advise the President about legal issues but I have not seen anything that gave his office the power to make such declaration.
“This outfit [Amotekun] is complementary to the effort of the Nigerian Police and other security agencies. In Oyo State, the government has four pillars; namely education, health, security and expansion of our economy through agribusiness. So, security is a major pillar for us and we believe we cannot have any development in an atmosphere that is not secure.
“If you look at investments, the money coming into an economy is like a coward; if such money sees anywhere that is not secure, it will fly. So, security is key and security agencies are doing their best but there is still a gap. Just like in most sectors of our body polity, we do have gaps; in education, health care delivery and the rest. We believe playing complementary roles will help to narrow those gaps.”
Speaking on the purpose of the visit to former President Obasanjo, Governor Makinde maintained that he was in Abeokuta to pay a visit to the former President as part of the tradition to pay homage to elders to wish them a happy and rewarding New Year.
He said: “As you all know, it is a New Year and, traditionally, one should go out to greet elders to wish them a happy and rewarding year. So, I came here to greet Baba and wish him the best for this year 2020.”
Governor Makinde, who stated that his administration had been recording successes and peace because the people were supporting its programmes and policies, promised not to take the people for granted.
“On governance in Oyo State, if you know what you want to do, you just basically follow your plans. Before we even came into office, we produced a document, entitled Oyo State Roadmap for Accelerated Development 2019-2023, which serves as a framework for accelerated development in Oyo State. The document is still there, it is a life document. People can still go there to assess our government.
“Oyo State is peaceful and we have the support of the people rallying behind our programmes and policies. We appreciate them for that and we will not take them for granted,” the Governor said.
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