Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday ordered the remand of Kayode Philip (aka ‘Voice of the King’), and his Lebanese accomplice, Hamza Koudeih (aka HK), over an alleged multimillion dollars internet fraud.
Kayode and Hamza are to be remanded in prison custody till December 5, when their bail applications would be heard and detemined.
Justice Sule Hassan ordered the remand of the alleged internet fraudsters after their plea was taken on a 25-count charge of conspiracy, phishing, spamming and unlawful conversion level against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In the charge, the two defendants were alleged to have sometime in May 2019 conspired to unlawfully convert the sum of $7.069 million, £1 million and €80,000, which were proceed of unlawful act.
They were also accused of an attempted to retain the sum of $700,000 in a multi currency account No. 012-611-2-009379-4 domiciled in Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited in the name of Pung Shen Technology Trading Co. Limited, which sum formed part of the proceeds of fraud.
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 (Hong Kong) Limited in the name of HongKong Zhongli Industrial Co. Limited.
The alleged Nigerian fraudster, Philip, who was charged in all 25 counts of the charge, was alleged to have unlawfully retained the sum of total sum of N30.250 million in the United Bank of Africa Plc (UBA) account numbers 102030764 and 107030764, belonging to Influx Computer and Hardware Limited and DAKOTA Entertainment Limited.
The offences, according to the prosecutor, Mr A O Muhammad, 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.
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.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Upon their plea of not guilty, the prosecutor urged the court to remand them in prison custody, while also asking for a date for trial.
Lawyers to the defendants, Oludare Falana and Hamid Muhammad, while informing the court that they were not opposing the request for trial date, told the court that they have filed their clients’ bail applications and same have been served on the prosecution.
Falana and Muhammad also told the court that the prosecutor was yet to respond to their application. They urged the court for a short date to hear the applications.
On where the defendants should be remanded, Falana told the court that his client be remanded in the custody of the EFCC, while Muhammad told the court that his Lebanese client had selected to be remanded in the custody of Nigeria Correctional Services.
Responding, the EFCC lawyer, Muhammad, told the court that the bail application of the first defendant was served on his while in court, added that he was yet to receive the Lebanese bail application, despite his lawyer telling the court that same was served on his agency on November 25.
The EFCC lawyer told the court that he was still within the time to respond to the bail applications.
Upon the agreement, the presiding judge, Justice Hassan, adjourned the hearing and determination of defendants’ bail applications till December 5, while fixing January 14, 15 and 16 2020 for commencement of defendants’ trial.