By Emma Njoku, Ndubuisi Orji, Molly Kilete and Okwe Obi, Abuja
A United States District Court has ordered the arrest of the Head, Nigerian Inspector General of Police’sIntelligence Response Team (IGP-IRT) and Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Abba Kyari, for his alleged role in a multi-million dollar fraud perpetrated by Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, and his co-conspirators.
A court document obtained by the media revealed that Otis Wright of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to track down Kyari and produce him in the U.S, for his role in large scale international fraud.
Hushpuppi, who was arrested in Dubai in June last year, has pleaded guilty to the fraud charges in the U.S. The FBI said Hushpuppi and Kyari, both of whom it alleged had been friends, conspired to launder money.
The FBI also indicted Kyari for allegedly receiving bribes from Hushpuppi to arrest a member of the syndicate in Nigeria. If found guilty of the allegation, Kyari may be jailed for 20 years.
“A criminal complaint and an indictment contain allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
“Both conspiracy counts alleged in the indictment carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term,” the court document revealed. Judge Wright’s order for the FBI to arrest Mr Kyari and hold him in U.S. custody was unsealed on July 26.
Meanwhile, Kyari, has denied allegations of conspiracy with Hushpuppi, claiming that he only met him two years ago and never demanded nor collect any bribe from him.
Kyari, who made the clarification on his Facebook page, said those celebrating the allegations by the internet fraudster against him would be disappointed and put to shame.
He said: “Friends: Abbas, who we later came to know as Hushpuppi, called our office about two years ago that somebody seriously threatened to kill his family here in Nigeria, and he sent the person’s phone number and pleaded we take action before the person attacks his family. We traced and arrested the suspect and after investigations, we discovered there wasn’t an actual threat to anyone’s life, and they were long time friends who had money issues, hence, we released the suspect on bail.
“Nobody demanded for a kobo from Abbas Hushpuppi. Our focus was to save people’s lives that were purported to have been threatened.
“Later, he saw some of my native clothes and caps on my social media page and said he liked them. He was connected to the person selling the clothes and he sent about N300,000 directly to the person’s account. The native clothes and caps (five sets) were brought to our office and he sent somebody to collect them in our office.
“Nobody demanded any money from Abbas Hushpuppi and nobody collected any money from him. This is the true story. Vincent is alive, he can be contacted.”
•IGP orders his probe
Inspector General of Police(IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered an investigation into the alleged indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), against Abba Kyari.
Force public relations officer, Frank Mba, who made this known in Abuja, also confirmed the receipt of the said allegations by the FB, by the police force headquarters.
Mba assured the commitment of the Nigerian Police to conduct a through investigation so as not to jeopardise its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners. The Force PRO in a statement yesterday in Abuja said: “Sequel to the receipt of allegation and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, Abba Kyari, the Inspector General of Police,Usman Alkali Baba has ordered an internal review of the allegations. The Nigeria Police Force reaffirms its commitment to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners. Further developments on this case will be communicated to members of the public accordingly.”
•Go clear your name in US- HURIWA
Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, (HURIWA) has advised the Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to file and defend a counter affidavit of accusation of bribery made against him by a fraud suspect, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi in the United States.
A US court had said that Hushpuppi allegedly used Kyari to arrest and jail a co-conspirator, Chibuzo Vincent, after the latter threatened to expose a $1million fraud committed against a Qatari businessman.
Although Kyari had denied allegations of conspiracy with Hushpuppi, URIWA’s National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, yesterday, said Kyari should not be scared of injustice because of the transparent nature of the judicial system in the United States.
“The United States of America is an organised Constitutional democracy, where the rule of law is supreme. So, if a crime suspect makes an affidavit accusation under oath against you, it doesn’t need to be disclaimed in the local media here.
“The best thing to do even before the Federal Bureau of Investigation uses the services of the INTERPOL to hunt you down, as someone who is sure that his conscience is clear, is to take the next available flight to Washington DC or New York, to connect to the court room, then use a legal representation to file and defend yourself through an affidavit evidence to counter what you think is a tissue of falsehood.
“Telling us this cock-and-bull story of how you, a very senior police officer, acted as the agent of a local tailor, is irrelevant and of no moment,” he said.
•PDP demands full investigation
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded a forensic investigation into reports by the United States (US) FBI linking head of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Intelligence Response Team, DCP Abba Kyari, to Abbas Ramon, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
The PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, described the news about Kyari’s alleged involvement in receipt of proceeds of international fraud as worrisome and a stain on the integrity of Nigeria.
The opposition party charged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the IGP, Usman Baba, to question Kyari, and if found culpable, he should be handed over to the FBI.
“It is, indeed, disquieting that the integrity of our nation has fallen so abysmally low under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, to the extent that the head of its police intelligence unit is being charged in connection with international fraud.
“Our party demands that the APC administration should not sweep this matter under the carpet given the manifest rapport between Kyari and some top APC leaders.
“We urge President Buhari not to “ease out” this case of corruption but, immediately, restore the integrity and image of our nation, by allowing a forensic investigation on the suspect.
“Moreover, if this Abba Kyari matter is not well handled, it will be a permanent stain on the reputation of our police, security system and our nation at large,” the PDP said.