Hushpuppi and Abba Kyari
Abbas, Kyari

Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered a probe of the Commander, IGP Intelligence Response Monitoring Team, DCP Abba Kyari, following a warrant of arrest issued against him by a United States Court for his alleged links with international fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly called Hushpupi.

On Wednesday, a US court 69-page document showed that he had been under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for his alleged link to Hushpuppi, who had pleaded guilty to fraud.

In the case marked 2:21-cr-00203, USA VS Abba Alhaji Kyari dated April 29, 2021, but unsealed on Wednesday, the FBI asked a US District Court in California to order the arrest of Kyari for 10 days.

The US Department of Justice in a statement said Hushpuppi admitted during interrogation that he paid bribes to Abba Kyari, to have one of his rivals arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a dispute over a $1.1m fraud involving a Qatari businessperson.

According to Abbas, he 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 $1.1 million loot received from the Qatari businessperson. Mr Vincent subsequently contacted the victim and informed him that he was being scammed by a syndicate involving him and Mr Abbas.

This elicited anger from Abbas, who contacted Mr Kyari to arrest and jail his rival over the dispute. Mr Abbas said Mr Kyari sent pictures of Mr Vincent in jail and subsequently sent his bank account number to Abbas to which a wire transfer should be made having done a good job as sent by Mr Abbas.

“Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, 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 Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria.

“According to the affidavit, Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is 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,” U.S. Justice department said in a statement.

“After the $1.1 million fraud was successful, Mr Abbas spent $230,000 on a watch and also bribed officials at St. Kitts and Nevis for his citizenship of that island country.

“Approximately $230,000 of the stolen funds allegedly were used to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand delivered to Abbas in Dubai and subsequently appeared in Hushpuppi’s social media posts.

“Other illicit proceeds from the scheme were allegedly converted into cashier’s checks, including $50,000 in checks that were used by Abbas and a co-conspirator to fraudulently acquire a St. Christopher and Nevis citizenship, as well as a passport for Abbas obtained by creating a false marriage certificate and then bribing a government official in St. Kitts,” officials said.

Mr Abbas pleaded guilty to multimillion-dollar fraud earlier this month and faces up to 20 years in jail. He will 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.

Mr Kyari has long grabbed media accolades as a no-nonsense cop who brought sanity to violent but lucrative crimes in Nigeria, including kidnapping and armed banditry, but there has been series of allegations of underhand dealings levelled against him.

Otis Wright of the United States District Court for the Central District of California had ordered the FBI to track down Kyari and produce him in the US for his role in a multi-million dollar fraud perpetrated by Hushpuppi.

In response to the unfolding development, the IGP yesterday, ordered an internal review of the allegations against the accused of involvement in financial fraud with Hushpuppi.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, said the IG ordered an internal review of the allegations against Kyari after receiving the indictment processes from the FBI.

Mba said this in a statement on Thursday, titled, ‘Alleged indictment of DCP Abba Kyari: Inspector-General of Police orders a review of the information.’

It read, “Sequel to the receipt of allegation and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari, the Inspector- General of Police, Usman Baba, 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.”

Reacting to the allegations in a post via his facebook page, however, Kyari denied receiving any money from Abbas, noting that he only sold native dress to the fraudster.

“Friends: Abbas who we later came to know as Hushpuppi called our office about 2years 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,” he wrote in facebook.

“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.

“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 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.

“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 2 decades is open for everybody to See. They will continue seeing us serving our father land 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. Beware of Many Fake/Doctored Documents purportedly to be from USA that are circulating too.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party demanded a forensic investigation of the allegations against Kyari.

The PDP made the demand in a statement issued on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, titled ‘Abba Kyari: PDP Demands Full Investigation.’

“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.”