Lebanese fraudster sentenced after pleading guilty; forfeits N100m, luxury SUV and iPhones to FG

Lebanese cyber criminal, Hamza Koudeih has been sentenced to one year in prison by a  Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

Koudeih’s N100m which was hidden in the bank account of CHK Property Investment Ltd, is to be forfeited to the federal government alongside his luxury Mercedes Benz GLE43 SUV with Chassis Number: HJGEDGEBXHA063213, his two iPhones and a HP Desktop computer.

The Lebanese fraudster was sentenced based on the plea deal he reached with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

When Koudeih was arraigned in November last year alongside his Nigerian co-defendant Kayode Philip, alias ‘Voice of the King’, they pleaded not guilty to a charge of engaging in cyber fraud and attempting to retain the sums of $6million and £1million in the Bank of China.

The EFCC said they also “knowingly engaged in computer phishing and spamming which resulted in acquiring sensitive information” from various emails.

After the convict who was out on bail on August 24 sought and failed to obtain leave of the court to return to his country to see his psychiatrist, he then approached the EFCC and indicated his intention to change his plea.

On Wednesday September 9, he struck a deal to plead guilty to the offence of phishing in exchange for a less severe sentence. EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo presented the terms of the bargain before the judge on Thursday September 9, pursuant to Section 270 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

He also  entered into a bond with the EFCC “to be of good behaviour and never to be involved in any form of economic and financial crimes both within and outside the shores of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Ruling on the case, Justice Ringim said; 

“I have listened to the submission of the prosecuting counsel Rotimi Oyedepo on the plea bargain agreement between the 2nd Defendant and the commission.

“The same agreement is hereby entered as the judgment of this court.

“The sum of one hundred million naira, a white coloured Mercedes Benz GLE43 and HP Laptop are hereby forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“That is the judgment of this court.”

Koudeih was also ordered to pay a N1m fine or risk going to jail for one year. 

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