The Nigerian media space went agog late July, 2021 when court documents released by US Department of Justice revealed testimonies of internet fraudster, Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas, indicted celebrated police officer, DCP Abba Kyari.
According to a press statement by the US Justice Department, the court documents outline a dispute among a syndicate of a $1.1 million fraud masterminded by Hushpuppi. A member of the syndicate named Chibuzo Kelly Vincent allegedly contacted the victim and claimed Abbas and others were engaged in fraud. After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Alhaji Abba Kyari.
Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.
The documentary evidence released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) showed Hushpuppi allegedly paid N8m ($20,600) to the embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to facilitate the arrest of Vincent.
Noting the process that led to the payment, the FBI said: “On January 16, 2020, Abbas sent a message to Kyari on WhatsApp, and then placed five calls to another phone number (+2348060733588) that was listed as ‘Abba Kyari.’ Call records show that the last three of the calls were answered and that one of the calls lasted more than two minutes.
“Shortly after that, Abbas received a message from Kyari, confirming ‘We would pick him today or tomorrow.’ Abbas wrote, ‘I will take care of the team also after they pick him up.’ Kyari confirmed ‘Yes ooo.’”
Abba Kyari has however been suspended by the Police Service Commission (PSC) from the exercise of the powers and functions of his office following the US FBI indictment.
DCP Tunji Disu was announced by the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to replace Kyari as the Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT) following his (Kyari’s) suspension.
“Note: Every accused person is innocent until proven guilty”.
The poll garnered 219 responses out of which 95 per cent voted Yes while 5 per cent voted No.
Commenting, a Twitter user @daviche20 said; “Most police officers are cunning”.
DCP Abba Kyari is currently investigated by the Special Investigation Panel (SIP), headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police-In-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Joseph Egbunike.
Kyari in a Facebook post (now deleted) claimed he only connected Hushpuppi to a tailor.
While appearing before the SIP, Kyari reveals more deals with Hushpuppi. He confessed, “He (Hushpuppi) also called for another case in June 2020 and complained about a financial transaction with a second person whom he said his friend sent 8 million naira to and pleaded for his friend’s money to be recovered.
“He sent transaction slips and other evidences to prove their case against the person.
“All these can be verified from the Hushpuppi since he is still in custody. And it can be verified from person who collected 8 million naira from Hushpuppi’s friend whom they complained about is alive and is in Nigeria.”
NewsWireNGR recalls that in October 2020, DCP Kyari was accused of extorting over N41 million from Afeez Mojeed, a Lagos-based businessman.
In a series of petitions between 2016 and 2018, Mojeed sought justice through the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), but to no avail.
In another petition filed on October 22, 2020, through Salawu Akingbolu & Co, Mojeed’s counsel, and addressed to the newly formed judicial panel of inquiry and restitution for victims of SARS-related abuses in Lagos, Kyari and his officers were accused of forcefully taking about 32 items from Mojeed’s house during a raid in 2014.
According to the petition, while in detention, “the police under the supervision and threat of Abba Kyari (OC SARS) forced him to sign three Zenith Bank cheques in the sum of N150,000 each making N450,000 in total on October 22 – 23, 2014 and gave the sum to one Alabi Olawale Nurudeen who is also one of their cronies to withdraw”.
The police also allegedly obtained password to his bank card with which they withdrew another N395,000 from his account between October 20 to 23, 2014.
Hushpuppi has however pleaded guilty in an American federal court, to conspiracy to engage in money laundering, of funds from business email compromise scams and other online heists.