Defence & Security

How FBI tracked Abba Kyari to Hushpuppi

...His cocaine connection; ...Why he may not be extradited to the U.S

By Edward Adamidenyo, Abuja Bureau Chief

It has been revealed that the road to the current predicament of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari started when the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, discretely placed him on the watch list when he was the officer in charge of Special Anti Robbery Squad at the Lagos state Police.

Special Agents of the FBI were said to have kept a tab on his telephone number as an Assistant Superintendent of Police and their watch paid off when Kyari used the same number to contact international fraudster, Ramon Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi.

A reliable security source who spoke to The Trumpet on strict condition of anonymity disclosed that the FBI which also kept a close watch on Hushpuppi decided to strike when the Nigerian House of Representatives honoured Kyari as a super cop.

The source who was privy to the recommendations of a panel set up by the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman Alkali to investigate the extent of liability of Kyari in his alleged role in a $1.1m Internet scam carried out by the Instagram influencer, Hushpuppi and four others said the United States is not interested in Kyari’s extradition to the U.S for trial.

The source further claimed that the IGP probe panel headed by DIG Joseph Egbunike cleared Kyari on the allegations even though they indicted him for violating some aspects of Police regulations that specifically deals with the use of social media.

“I can authoritatively tell you that Abba Kyari was given administrative clearance by the panel and we also have it on good authority that the United States was not particularly interested in his extradition contrary to what some Nigerians believe”, the source said.

Kyari who is currently detained by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, for alleged involvement in cocaine deals was indicted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations, which recommended that the cop be extradited to the US to face trial.

The US Attorney’s Office at the Central District of California had issued a warrant of arrest last year authorizing the FBI to apprehend Kyari and other defendants in the case.

The court’s Director of Media Relations, Thom Mrozek, had on December 13, 2021 said the sentencing of Hushpuppi, who pleaded guilty to money laundering charges, was still pending.

Read More: NDLEA Raids Lagos Drug Den, Arrests Female Kingpin, Others, Recovers 5,862kg Drugs

Trouble began for the syndicate when the Dubai Police in the United Arab Emirates, in June 2020 arrested Hushpuppi and his gang. They were later extradited to the US for prosecution by the FBI.

An FBI Special Agent, Andrew Innocenti, had alleged that Hushpuppi contracted the services of Kyari after a “co-conspirator,” Chibuzo Vincent, allegedly threatened to expose the alleged $1.1m fraud committed against a Qatari businessman and school founder.

Agent Innocenti, had in a document titled, ‘Criminal Complaint By Telephone Or Other Reliable Electronic Means’ filed before the United States District Court for the Central District of California, alleged that a suspected fraudster, Abas Ramon, aka Hushpuppi, contracted Kyari to detain a co-conspirator, Chibuzo Vincent, for threatening to expose the alleged $1.1m fraud committed against a Qatari businessman.

The agency said Hushpuppi paid $20,600 into a bank account provided by Kyari.

Following the allegations, Kyari was suspended from service on July 31 by the Police Service Commission. He also appeared before the SIP over several days.

In June 2021, The House of Representatives honoured Kyari as leader of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team for his exceptional service to the Nigeria Police Force and Nigeria.

The honour came following a motion moved by the member representing Chibok Federal Constituency, Ahmad Jaha as
Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, paid glowing tributes to the police officer, whom he described as an intelligent man.

On 14th February 2022, the NDLEA released a video clip where Kyari was exposed offering $61,400 in cash to a anti narcotics officer as he allegedly negotiated the release of 25kg cocaine earlier seized from a transcontinental cartel.

Following the damming revelation and his detention by the NDLEA, Kyari put in motion to regain his freedom. But a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided over by Justice Zainab Dimka Abubakar, on February 23, 2022 truncated this effort when she granted an application by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency to detain him and six others for a further two weeks.

The court gave the order following the application by the anti-narcotic agency, which was argued by its Director of Prosecution and Legal Services, Mr. Sunday Joseph.
The agency had in the application dated February 15, 2022, in suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/111/2022 sought the leave of the court to detain the suspects in NDLEA custody for 14 days pending the conclusion of investigation.

Suspects affected by the order included: Kyari; ACP Sunday Ubia; ASP James Bawa; Inspector Simon Agirigba; Inspector John Nuhu; Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne.
The implication, is that Kyari and his alleged accomplices still have a long way to go to prove their innocence.

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