BusinessDay

Hushpuppi: US court orders arrest of Nigerian cop, Abba Kyari

...I did not collect money from Hushpuppi - Kyari

A United States District Court Thursday issued a warrant of arrest for Nigeria’s Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, over his role in serial internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, otherwise known as Hushpuppi’s multi-million naira fraud probe.

Otis Wright of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down Kyari and produce him in the United States for his role in a multi-million dollar fraud.

Abbas was arrested in Dubai last June and he pleaded guilty to fraud in the US.

But the FBI said Abbas and Kyari have been friends and were both involved in a conspiracy to launder money.

According to reports, American prosecutors first sought a court warrant to arrest Kyari on February 12, 2021.

Another warrant was requested on April 29, 2021.

Judge Wright’s permission for the FBI to arrest Kyari and hold him in U.S. custody was unsealed on July 26.

Read also: Nigerian police chief indicted in U.S. over ‘Hushpuppi’ fraud, says Reuters

Hushpuppi had narrated how he allegedly bribed Kyari to have one of his rivals arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a dispute over a $1.1million dupe of a Qatari business person.

Abbas had asked Kyari to arrest and jail a fellow fraudster Kelly Chibuzor Vincent after both were locked in a dispute presumably over how to share the $1.1million loot received from the Qatari businessperson.

Abbas had pleaded guilty to a multi-million fraud earlier this month and faces up to 20 years in jail. He is expected to be sentenced in the coming weeks and will forfeit some of his assets and his rights to appeal while also paying restitution to victims of his years-long fraud.

Meanwhile, in a message on his verified Facebook page on Thursday night, Kyari denied allegations of collecting money for favour from Abbas.

Kyari said the indicted fraudster had requested his assistance two years ago to help track someone who was threatening to attack his family here in Nigeria, adding that no money was collected from him.

According to him, “Abbas who we later came to know as Hushpuppi called our office about two years ago that somebody in Nigeria 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 are long time friends who have money issues between them hence we released the suspect on bail to go and he was not taken to any jail”.

Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police has ordered a review of the information.

In a statement signed by Frank Mba, Force Public Relations officer, Force Headquarters, Abuja, “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, DCP Abba Kyari, the Inspector General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba psc (+), NPM, fdc 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.”

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