The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked a Lagos court to dismiss the application of one Hamza Koudeih seeking to travel to Lebanon for psychiatric treatment.
Wilson Uwujaren, the spokesman of the EFCC, confirmed the development in a statement on Wednesday.
Koudeih is being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside one Kayode Phillips as alleged money laundering accomplices of Ismaila ‘Mompha’ Mustapha, the Nigerian socialite, before Muslim Hassan of the federal high court in Ikoyi, Lagos.
The defendants, who are said to be high-value targets in organized cyber syndicate network (OCSN), were arraigned on November 28, 2019, on 25-count charges bordering on conspiracy and money laundering.
One of the charges read: “That you, Kayode Phillips (aka Voice of the King) and Hamza Koudeih (aka. HK), sometime in May 2019 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired among yourselves to commit an offence to wit: conversion of the aggregate sum of $7,069, 000 (Seven Million, Sixty-nine Thousand United States Dollars), £1,000,000 (One Million Pounds) and €80,000 (Eighty Thousand Euro), which sums 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.”
Both defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, thus setting off their trial.
Koudeih had through Abdulhamid Mohammed, his counsel, filed an application dated July 18, 2021, before Ringim Tijjani, arguing that his client needed to see his psychiatrist in Beirut, Lebanon.
According to him, the treatment he had been receiving in Nigeria had not yielded good results and Georges Elie Karam, his doctor in Lebanon, said that he needed further investigation of his medical condition and treatment in Lebanon.
“We urge your lordship to release his international passport to enable him to process his trip,” he said.
EFCC urged Tijjani, a vacation judge of the federal high court sitting in Ikoyi, to dismiss the application.
Rotimi Oyedepo, the EFCC’s counsel, argued that the defendant constituted a flight risk.
“This is a ploy to run away from the trial pending before the court,” he said.
“Going by the exhibits Annexed by the applicant, how can a (Nigerian) doctor who has treated the applicant for 14 years suddenly say he can no longer be doing so? There are hospitals in Lagos that the applicant has been using.
“This defendant is a citizen of Lebanon. What if he is granted permission to go and he doesn’t return?”
He urged the court to dismiss the application and the matter was adjourned till September 9 for ruling.
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