Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday remanded an alleged internet fraudster, Kayode Philip, also known as, Voice of the King and a Lebanese, Hamza Koudeih, in prison over alleged multimillion dollars internet fraud.
The judge order that the two men be kept behind bars after they pleaded not guilty to a 25-counts charge of conspiracy, phishing, spamming and unlawful conversion brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Kayode and Hamza, who the EFCC claimed is an associate of alleged fraudster, Ismaila Mustapha, also known as Mompha, are to remain in prison untill December 5, when their bail applications would be heard and detemined.
The anti-graft agency in the charge claimed that the two defendants sometimes in May, 2019, conspired among themselves to unlawfully convert the sum of $7, 069 million, £1 million and €80,000, which were proceed of unlawful act.
The Commission also alleged that the defendants attempted to retain the sum of $700,000 in Multi Currency account No. 012-611-2-009379-4 domiciled in Bank of China (Hongkong) Limited in the name of Pung Shen Technology Trading Co. Limited, which sum they reasonably ought to have known form part of the proceeds of fraud.
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They were also alleged to have sometimes in the months of July and October, 2019, unlawfully retained the sum of £1 million and £3.5 million in a multiple currency account number 012-968-2-002658-3 domiciled in Bank of China (Hongkong) Limited in the name of HongKong Zhongli Industrial Co. Limited.
Philip, who was name in all the 25 counts charge, was said to have unlawfully retained the sum of N30. 250 million in United Bank of Africa Plc (UBA) account numbers 102030764 and 107030764, belonging to Influx Computer and Hardware Limited and DAKOTA Entertainment Limited.
The EFCC counsel, A. O. Muhammad maintained that the offences are contrary to sections 18(a), 15(2)(d), 18(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2015 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
Muhammad also stated that the offences also contravened sections 27(1)(b), 28(2), 32(2) and 33(9) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc)Act,2015 and punishable under section 32 (2) of the same Act.
After the two men took their plea, their lawyer, Oludare Falana informed the court that he is not opposed to the request for a trial date.
He, however, said that he had filed separate bail applications on behalf of his clients and same have been served on the prosecution.
Falana also told the court that the prosecutor has not responded to his applications.
He therefore urged the court for a short date to hear the applications.
The lawyer further urged the court to remand Philip in the custody of the EFCC, while he said that the Lebanese had elected to be remanded in the custody of Nigeria Correctional Services.
Responding, the EFCC lawyer, Abass Muhammad, told the court that the bail application of the first defendant was served on him in court on Thursday morning, while he is yet to receive the Lebanese’ bail application.
The prosecutor, however further argued that he is still within the time to respond to the bail applications.
Upon the agreement of parties, Justice Hassan, adjourned the hearing of the bail applications to December 5 and he fixed January 14, 2020, for the commencement of trial.
Count one of the charge against the defendants read: “that you Kayode Philip (A.k.A Voice Of the King) and Hamza Koudein (A.K.A HK) sometimes in May,2019 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: conversion of the aggregate sum of $7,069,000 (Seven Million, Sixty Nine Thousand United State Dollars), [1,000,000.00 (One Million Pounds) and €80,000 (Eighty Thousand Euro) Which sum you reasonably ought to have known form part of the proceeds of fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 18(a), 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2015 and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
COUNT 24 reads: “That you Kayode Philip on or about the 10‘” day of November, 2017 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court procured, influx computer and hardware limited with account No. 102030764 to use the sum of N19,250,000 ( Nineteen Million Two hundred and fifty thousand Naira) in its United bank for Africa Bank Account, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act to wit: Fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to sections 15 (2) a and 18 (c) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
And count 25 reads: “that you Kayode Philip on the 13th day of November, 2017 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court procured DAKOTA Entertainment Limited with account NO 107.0307 64 to use the sum of N11,000,000 (Eleven Million Naira) in its United bank for Africa Bank Account, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawfully act to wit’ Fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary ti sections 15 (2) (d) and 18 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15 (b) of the same Act”.