Internet fraud: Court rules on Morpha’s associates’ bail on Monday

Justice Sule Hassan of a Federal High Court, Lagos, on Thursday, fixed Monday, December 9, for ruling on bail filed by alleged two internet fraudsters, Kayode Philip a.k.a. Voice of the King and his Lebanese accomplice, Hamza Koudeih a.k.a. HK.

Both Kayode and Hamza are being arraigned before Justice Hassan’s court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on alleged multimillion dollars internet fraud.

They were arraigned before the court on November 28, on a 25 count-charge of conspiracy, phishing, spamming and unlawful conversion.

The offences according to the EFCC through its lawyer, A. O. Muhammed contravened 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 two defendants had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The judge while ordering that they should be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCS) formerly Nigerian Prison Services, while adjourned till today for hearing of their bail applications.

At the resumed hearing of the alleged internet Fraudsters bail applications, their lawyers, Oluwadare Falana and Abdulhammed Muhammed, urged the court to grant their clients bail in the most liberal terms.

The defendants’ lawyers cited sections 35 and 36 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria (as amended) and sections 158, 162,163 and 164 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, which they said allowed the court to grant bail to the defendants, as they are presumed to be innocent until contrary is proven.

Responding, the prosecutor, Mr. Muhammed, pleaded with the court to discountenance the defendants’ bail applications.

He told the court that the first defendant, Kayode, being having wide knowledge on internet, will tamper with the evidence to be used against him. While he told the court that the second defendant, Hamza, resisted arrest to the extent of hidden in the roof of his house when the EFCC operatives wanted to arrest him.

He also told the court that the second defendant’s attitude while in the  EFCC’s custody was not of good act.

He cited section 162 of ACJA 2015, to support his submission. He however stated that in the case the court is mindful of admitting the defendants to bail, it should be of conditions that will ensure that they attend trial.

Justice Hassan, after listened to the parties submissions on the bail applications, adjourned till Monday for ruling.

The judge also ordered that the two alleged internet fraudsters be remanded in prison till the ruling on their bail applications.

In the charge, the two defendants were alleged to have 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.

They were also accused of 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 you reasonably ought to have form 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 (Hongkong) Limited in the name of HongKong Zhongli Industrial Co. Limited.

The Nigerian alleged fraudster, Kayode Philip who was charged in all the 25 counts charge, was alleged to have unlawfully retained the sum of  total 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 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 guilyto the charges.

Upon their plea of not guilty, the prosecutor urged the court to remand them in prison custody, while also asked for a date for trial. While still fixed January 14, 15 and 16 2020, for commencement of defendants’ 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”. 

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