A Lebanese man identified as Hamza Koudeih and two other people have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). They are suspected to be accomplices of Mompha, the Nigerian Instagram celebrity and bureau de change operator based in Dubai.
Hamza was arrested after a three hour stand-off at his N1.8 billion luxury apartment in the 33 storey Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower at Victoria Island, Lagos. The apartment was fortified with triple reinforced fire-proof door and closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras, making it difficult for the operatives to gain entrance. When the EFCC operative finally gained entrance into the apartment, Hamza’s wife claimed her husband had escaped through the window despite the fact that they lived in the topmost floor.
Hamza was later found hiding in the ceiling and a fire-proof safe containing different charms and talismans in calabashes was discovered during a search of his bedroom. He claimed the charms were his prayer objects.
Hamza and his wife’s immigration status are currently been investigated.
According to Mohammed Rabo, Lagos zonal head of the EFCC, the operation that led to Koudeih’s arrest was an offshoot of the collaboration between the EFCC and the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), but Koudeih was arrested based on “purely EFCC intelligence”.
“Actionable intelligence received from local and international law enforcement agencies had revealed that Koudeih and Mompha alongside their collaborators are high valued targets in Organized Cyber Syndicate Network (OCSN). Investigations have also revealed that Mompha uses a firm known as Ismalob Global Investments Limited to perpetrate about N14 billion money laundering while Koudeih also operate two firms namely: THK Services Limited and CHK properties Limited to launder about N19 billion.”
The bank accounts which Ismaila Mustapha a.k.a Mompha used for money laundering have been uncovered. They are said to be a total of 51. In addition, the wristwatches which were previously thought to be valued at N20 million have now been discovered to be worth N60 million.