Claims by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that a Lebanese national, Hamza Koudeih, pays $5m (N1.8bn) per year as rent for his apartment at Eko Pearl Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos, may not be true, investigations by The PUNCH have revealed.
Koudeih, an associate of alleged Internet fraudster and social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, popularly known as Mompha, was arrested earlier in the week by the EFCC.
At a press conference organised by the acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, the commission claimed that Koudeih, who laundered N19bn, lives in an apartment at Eko Pearl Towers where he pays $5m per year on rent.
Magu said, “Koudeih, also has two firms namely: THK Services Limited and CHK properties Limited with which he has allegedly laundered about N19bn.
“Koudeih lives in a $5m per annum suite at the Eko Atlantic Pearl Tower, Victoria Island Lagos.”
Our correspondent, who posed as a buyer, was, however, informed by the marketing department of Eko Pearl Towers that the most expensive apartment, which is the penthouse, cost between $2.4m and $2.7m to purchase.
PUNCH was informed that there are options for lease and rent but the most expensive option is purchase which is nothing close to $5m.
The Black Pearl Tower has 18 floors
The tower consists of 24 residential floors; there are four apartments per floor, two apartments on the royal penthouse floors, a technical floor, a ground floor, and a basement floor. In addition, the tower includes a private health club, meeting room, and lounge.
The information is contained on its website, www.ekopearltowers.com.
A marketer who spoke with PUNCH, said, “We have plans to have five towers but we have only two at the moment. Constructions are still ongoing. So we have two bedrooms, three bedrooms and penthouse style of house. The penthouse floor has the most expensive and it range from $2.4m to $2.7m.
“It is possible to get something at $2m if you are interested right now.”
The marketer stated that there were options for third party leases and rent.
The EFCC has been criticised in the past for exaggerating figures of its recovered loot or value of seized properties.
In November 2017, Magu had claimed that the agency recovered about N739bn within two years and in February 2018 he said as much as N500bn was recovered in 2017 alone.
However, the then Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said her ministry was only able to account for N91.3bn recovered loot by the EFCC since May 2015.
In a letter, Adeosun said the total amount calculated by the Office of the Accountant-General, which is a department under the ministry of finance, is N91,383,370,501.73.
According to an updated table of the recoveries attached to the letter, the amount included assets under final and interim forfeitures and funds recovered in foreign currencies.
But in a letter dated February 9 and addressed to Magu, Adeosun asked for an explanation on why the figures computed by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation did not correspond with the EFCC boss’ claims about recovered loot in the media.
Source: The PUNCH