Hushpuppi Scam: FG, US Discussing Abba Kyari’s Extradition-Malami

NIGERIA’S Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has disclosed that both the Nigerian government and that of the United States are discussing the possibility of extraficting former head of the Intelligence Response Team, DCP Abba Kyari, for his alleged role in a $1m scam allegedly hatched and executed by alleged international Internet fraudster Ramon Abbas, alias Hushpuppi and five others.

The AGF, who noted that reasonable grounds for suspicion have been established against Kyari, made the disclosure on Monday while featuring on a national television program on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’.

It is an issue that has international and national dimensions. Actions have been taken, it is a work-in-process locally and internationally and we are doing whatever it takes to ensure justice is done within the context of the law regardless of the personalities that are involved.

When criminality is involved, Nigeria and US naturally work together when there are elements of the offences that have taken place in the diverse jurisdictions. So, Nigeria is doing the needful by way of supporting what America is doing for the purpose of ensuring that the cases are tried accordingly within the context of the American context of it. And then, eventually, if there is need for local prosecution, nothing stops it,” he said.

While commenting on whether a request for Kyari’s extradition had been made by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, Malami explained coyly, “There could be a need or perhaps the possibility of making such request.” but went on to add that

As far as I am concerned, the parties are discussing, the parties are collaborating, there are exchanges of correspondence from the perspective of investigation, from the perspective of extradition, and associated things.

Reasonable grounds for suspicion have been established and that will eventually translate to the possibility of prosecution and conviction if indeed one is adjudged guilty by the law.

The FBI had alleged that Hushpuppi contracted the services of Kyari after a “co-conspirator,” Chibuzo Vincent’s alleged threat to expose the alleged $1.1m fraud committed against a Qatari businessman.

According to the FBI, Innocent disclosed that he obtained voice calls and WhatsApp conversations between Kyari and Hushpuppi. He is alleged to have said that Hushpuppi paid the police officer N8m or $20,600 for his arrest and detention following which the United States Attorney’s Office at the Central District of California ordered the agency to arrest Kyari nearly a year ago.

Although Kyari had denied the allegations via his Facebook handle on July 29, 2021, a denial he edited a dozen times, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, recommended his suspension which was duly executed by the Police Service Commission on July 31, 2021.

Following the suspension order, the police boss constituted a special investigation panel, on August 2, 2021, headed by Joseph Egbunike, DIG, who heads the Force Criminal Investigations Department, CID, to unravel the allegations.

Egbunike’s panel has since submitted its report which has since been forwarded to the AGF who is in charge of matters involving the extradition, repatriation and transfer of suspects or wanted persons.

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