Tayo AFOLABI

 

The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, on Thursday, explained that extradition is a process that involves multifaceted components.

Malami satetd this in a statement by his spokesperson, Umar Gwandu, where reasons for initiating the moves to extradite, Abba Kyari, a suspended deputy commissioner of police (DCP), to face fraud charges in the United States of America were given.

“As you are aware, extradition is a process that involves multifaceted components,” the statement said.

The minister said the extradition application was filed following a request by the U.S. authorities.

“The components are usually multi-territorial; international, local and judicial.

“Submission of request from the concerned party to the relevant authorities constitutes one of such components.

“The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice received the extradition request in respect of the officer in question,” the statement read in part.

It added that the AGF office, after receiving the request, studied and reviewed it thoroughly before filing the extradition application in court.

“After thorough studies and reviews of issues regarding the application and components thereof, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice processed the application and forward same to the relevant authorities for further necessary action,” the statement stated.

The extradition application is based on Nigeria’s extradition law. The law requires the Federal High Court to make an order for the extradition to take effect. Some extradition cases have gone on appeal up to the level of the Supreme Court.

Newsmen reported how the U.S. government, in July 2021, named Mr Kyari, a celebrated police officer, among co-conspirators of Ramon Abass, aka Huspuppi, an Instagram celebrity, in a multi-million-dollars money laundering fraud.

Hushpuppi is awaiting judgement after pleading guilty to the charges in a separate case filed at the Central District Court of Central District of California.

Mr Kyari is named among five of Hushpuppi’s conspirators in a $1.1 million fraud charge approved by a U.S. grand jury.

While on suspension over his role in the Hushpuppi’s case, was fingered by the NDLEA in a 25kg cocaine deal earlier this year.

The anti-narcotic agency, on February 22, 2022, obtained an order from the Federal High Court in Abuja to detain him and his co-suspects for two weeks.

The two-week period is yet to lapse.

There is a pending arrest warrant issued against Mr Kyari by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in July last year.

The judge, Otis Wright of the U.S. District Court, issued the order of arrest while ordering the unsealing of the docket, essentially opening up the records for public accessibility, on July 26, 2021.

The judge, in issuing the unsealing order, also granted the U.S. government’s request for a detention order and an arrest warrant against Mr Kyari and others.

In the three charges filed against him and others, Mr Kyari, and other alleged co-conspirators were said to have been part of a scheme spearheaded by Hushpuppi to defraud a businessperson in Qatar between November 2019 and April 2020.

In the indictment, Mr Kyari, who was leading the Intelligence Response Unit of the Nigeria Police until the scandal broke out last year, is alleged in the charges to have conspired with Hushpuppi “together with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, knowingly conspired to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343”.

He, along with others, is also accused of conducting financial transactions involving proceeds of unlawful activity and aiding and abetting illegal use and transfer of a means of identification.

Others named along with Mr Kyari in the indictment are; Abdulrahman Juma (aka Abdul and Rahman), Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, Rukayat Motunrayo Fashola (aka Morayo), Bolatito Takakalitu Agbabiaka (aka Bolamide), and Yusuf Adeyinka Anifowoshe (aka AJ and Alvin Johnson).

Newsmen had detailed Mr Kyaris alleged involvement in the scheme based on records filed in the U.S. court by American investigators and prosecutors.

Mr Kyari’s alleged role in the scheme, according to court documents, was to help Hushpuppi to detain one of the aggrieved conspirators based in Nigeria who has threatened to spill the beans regarding the scheme.

The arrest of Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, investigators said, prevented him from warning the victim of the fraud. This led to further fraud perpetrated against him, the U.S. authorities said.

According to court documents, this started when Hushpuppi, a resident of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), until his arrest in June 2020, contacted Mr Kyari to arrange the arrest of one of the arrowheads of the heist, Chibuzo (Vincent), who was unhappy over his share of the proceeds of the fraud, and was prepared to hint the victim, a Qatari businessperson, to stop payments.

“CHIBUZO’s messages to ABBAS during that time show that he was unhappy with the amount that, and/or speed with which, ABBAS was paying him, so he contacted the Victim Businessperson directly,” a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Andrew John Innocenti, said in an affidavit filed in support of the charge.

Mr Innocenti, whose account was based on message conversation extracted from Abass telephones, added, “CHIBUZO told the Victim Businessperson that JUMA and ABBAS were ‘fake,’ in an attempt to convince the Victim Businessperson to stop making fraudulent payments to ABBAS and JUMA, and to make fraudulent payments to him instead.

“When JUMA and ABBAS learned of CHIBUZO’s interference, ABBAS arranged to have KYARI—a highly decorated Deputy Commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force—arrest CHIBUZO for interfering with the fraud scheme.

“ABBAS asked KYARI to have the police administer the ‘serious beating of his life’ and arranged with KYARI to pay to keep CHIBUZO imprisoned for at least a month, so that the fraud scheme could be successfully executed, and the money could be obtained.”

Mr Kyari was said to have arrested Mr Chibuzo and held him in custody for about a month as instructed by Hushpuppi.

He sent Mr Chibuzo’s photograph in custody to Hushpuppi, the federal agent said, “and also facilitated payments from ABBAS to the Nigeria Police Force personnel, who arrested CHIBUZO.”

This, according to Mr Innocenti, was “to ensure CHIBUZO’s continued arrest, thereby preventing CHIBUZO from notifying the Victim Businessperson of ABBAS’ and JUMA’s fraudulent scheme and preventing CHIBUZO from hijacking the scheme for his own benefit.

The decorated Nigerian cop was also said to have “told ABBAS that he would not allow CHIBUZO’s girlfriend to pay money to get CHIBUZO out of custody as he would have done for a ‘normal arrest’.

After Mr Chibuzo’s arrest, the special agent said, “JUMA and ABBAS convinced the Victim Businessperson to make the payments of $299,983.58 described above.”

“KYARI’s knowing involvement in the scheme allowed ABBAS and JUMA to continue defrauding the Victim Businessperson undetected and receive money obtained from the Victim Businessperson after it was laundered,” the document added.

 

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