Apparently stunned by the scale of allegations of corruption, abuse of power and torture of suspects, levelled against one of Nigeria’s most decorated police officers, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari, by Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered an internal review of Kyari’s involvement, in a series of crimes committed by a notorious internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas otherwise called Hushpuppi.
Baba’s order followed a United States Court order of arrest of Kyari, issued by a District Court of California.
The IG’s order did not, however, come as a surprise as competent police sources had earlier hinted THISDAY that the police authority was rattled by the development and might soon issue a statement to state its position.
“We are concerned but we are working on something (response)”, one of the sources claimed.
But, unfazed, Kyari had also denied the allegations in a statement posted on his Facebook page, where he insisted that, “my hands are clean”.
That notwithstanding, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded a full investigation of the alleged involvement of Kyari in the fraud allegations against Abbas.
In a two-paragraph statement issued by the IG, tagged: “Alleged Indictment of DCP Abba Kyari: Inspector-General Of Police Orders A Review of the Information” and signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, Commissioner of Police Frank Mba, Baba assured the Nigerian people of justice at the end of the day.
The statement read: “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.”
THISDAY gathered that Otis Wright of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to arrest Kyari and produce him in the United States for his role in a $1.1million fraud.
Some US Court documents further showed that American prosecutors had first sought a court warrant to arrest Kyari on February 12, 2021, while another request was made on April 29, 2021.
But Judge Wright’s permission for the FBI to arrest Kyari and hold him in US custody, it was further gathered, was unsealed on July 26, 2021.
Hushpuppi had narrated to the US court how he allegedly bribed Kyari to arrest and jail one of his rivals in Nigeria over a disputed sharing formula of $1.1million scam of a Qatari businessman.
The US court papers also revealed that Yusuf Adekinka Anifowoshe, a.k.a. “AJ,” 26, of Brooklyn, New York, allegedly played a role in the fraud, assisting Abbas with a call to the victim posing as “Malik.”
Special agents with the FBI, however, arrested Anifowoshe in New York on July 22. The conspirators allegedly defrauded the victim of more than $1.1 million.
The proceeds of the fraud were allegedly laundered in several ways.
According to the indictment, Abbas was assisted in laundering the proceeds of the fraud by Rukayat Motunraya Fashola, a.k.a. “Morayo,” 28, of Valley Stream, New York, and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka, a.k.a. “Bolamide,” 34, of Linden, New Jersey.
These two defendants also were arrested on July 22 by FBI agents.
Court documents outlined a dispute among members of the syndicate, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud.
After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by DCP Abba Kyari, 46, of Nigeria.
According to the affidavit, Kyari, a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police, was alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest.
Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.
Anifowoshe, Fashola and Agbabiaka were arrested in New York and New Jersey on July 22, and were expected to be arraigned in Los Angeles in August. The all three are currently free on bond.
The court maintained, however, that the 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 FBI is investigating this matter as part of Operation Top Dog. The FBI thanks the government of the United Arab Emirates and the Dubai Police Department for their substantial assistance in this matter.
“The FBI also thanks the Kenyan Office of Attorney General, Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and Directorate of Criminal Investigations for their substantial assistance.
“This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Khaldoun Shobaki of the Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided substantial assistance in this matter”, it said.
Meanwhile, Kyari has denied the allegations in a statement posted on his verified Facebook page.
Kyari said, “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 longtime friends, who have money issues between them hence we released the suspect on bail to go and he was not taken to any jail”, he said.
“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 he said he likes them and he was connected to the person selling the clothes and he sent about N300k directly to the person’s account.
“The native clothes and caps (5 sets) were brought to our office and he (Hushpuppi) sent somebody to collect them in our office.
“Nobody demanded any money from Abbas Hushpuppi and nobody collected any money from him. We responded to a distress call he made on threat to his family and released the suspect, when we discovered there was no life threat from the Suspect. This is the true story. Vincent is alive, he can be contacted”, he said.
Kyari therefore maintained that there was no such transaction between him and Hushpuppi.
“For those, who are celebrating that this is an indictment on us and mentioning some fictitious big money, they will be disappointed once again as our hands are clean and our record of service for two decades is open for everybody to see. They will continue seeing us serving our fatherland and we will continue responding to all distress calls from all Nigerians provided they are life threatening.
“For good Nigerians, who appreciate our service, please, don’t worry as our hands are clean and they should please not respond to those celebrating and creating many false narratives without any evidence. We are used to such types of people and false newsmakers and distributors”, he said.
Meanwhile, the PDP has demanded a forensic investigation into reports that FBI has linked head of IGP Intelligence Response Team, Kyari, to international fraudster, Abbas.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP claimed the revelation of the involvement of Kyari, the head of Nigeria’s intelligence response unit, as a receiver of proceeds of international fraud was worrisome, disturbing and a stain on the integrity of the nation.
“It is indeed disquieting that the integrity of our nation has fallen so abysmally low under the corrupt and fraud-patronizing 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 should immediately restore the integrity and image of our nation by allowing for a forensic investigation on the suspect,” the PDP stated.
The PDP, however, warned that, “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.
It, therefore, asked President Buhari to direct the Inspector General of Police to take in Kyari for questioning and if found culpable, should be handed over to the FBI.