The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has urged Justice Ringim Tijjani, a vacation judge of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos to dismiss the application of one Hamza Koudeih seeking leave of the Court to travel to Lebanon for psychiatric treatment.
Koudeih is being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside one Kayode Phillips, both of whom are alleged accomplices of Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, before Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos for alleged money laundering.
The defendants, who are high-valued 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.”
They pleaded "not guilty" to the charges, thus setting off their trial.
Koudeih had through his counsel, Abdulhamid Mohammed filed the application dated July 18, 2021 before Justice Tijjani arguing that his client needed to see his psychiatrist in Beirut, Lebanon.
According to him, the treatments he had been receiving in Nigeria had not yielded good results and his doctor in Lebanon, Dr. Georges Elie Karam, a Psychiatry and Clinical Psychologist at St. George Hospital University Medical Centre, Beirut, 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 process his trip," he said.
Counsel for the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, however, vehemently opposed the application, arguing that the defendant constituted a flight risk.
He said: "This is a ploy to run away from the trial pending before the court.
"Going by the exhibits Annexed by the applicant, how can a (Nigerian) doctor who has treated the applicant for 14 years now suddenly say that 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 therefore urged the Court to dismiss the application.
The matter has been adjourned till September 9, 2021 for ruling on the application.
Media & Publicity
24 August, 2021