The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is mounting pressure on the inspector-general of police (IGP), Usman Baba, to provide deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari, to face fraud-related charges in the United States.
LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt yesterday that operatives of the FBI visited the IGP on Thursday and yesterday to convince him to release the police officer for trial.
A source close to the force headquarters at Louis Edet House told this paper that the IGP, who had ordered the review of information about the alleged indictment of Abba Kyari, is however insisting on a thorough investigation before any action is taken on Kyari.
“The IGP is mindful of a situation where there may be a grand conspiracy against DCP Abba Kyari and so he wants to be sure that the matter is such that would require Kyari to go and clear himself. Don’t forget that Kyari is a police officer of Nigeria and the Nigeria Police Force is also responsible for accounting for him and as such the right thing needs to be done before he is handed to US federal police”, the source who did not want his name in print said.
Force PRO, CP Frank Mba, had said sequel to the receipt of allegation and indictment processes from the FBI against Abba Kyari, the IGP had ordered an internal review of the allegations.
He said the police were willing to work with FBI and were committed to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.
He said, “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.”
Also, a serving senior police officer, who spoke to LEADERSHIP Weekend on anonymity said DCP Kyari would be released for extradition if found guilty of the cases against him.
He said there is a procedure for such cases, which involve investigation as has been ordered by the IGP.
He also said at the end of the investigation, if the officer is found guilty, the US government would write to the Nigerian government which would then release the officer to answer for his crime in the US.
Meanwhile, three alleged conspirators mentioned in the case involving DCP Abba Kyari have been arrested. They are Yusuf Adeyinka Anifowoshe (aka AJ or Alvin Johnson), Rukayat Motunraya Fashola (aka Morayo) and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka (aka Bolamide).
Court documents showed that Anifowoshe and Fashola were arrested at their separate homes in New York on July 22.
Another set of documents also showed that Agbabiaka was arrested in New Jersey and subsequently granted bail in the sum of $150,000.
The three are part of the six persons, including Kyari, who will be facing three charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to engage in money laundering and aggravated identity theft at a U.S. District Court of Central District Court of California.
This is not the first tome the top police officer would be accused of crimes as a Lagos-based businessman, Afeez Mojeed, had in 2020, accused him of extorting over N41 million from him.
Mojeed said the extortion was done in 2014 when Kyari was the officer in charge of the now disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) in Lagos.
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 a petition filed on October 22, 2020, through Salawu Akingbolu & Co, Mojeed’s counsel, and addressed to the 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.
The Lagos government had set up a judicial panel to attend to cases of abuses, especially by the officers of the disbanded police squad, after the protest against police brutality.
In the petition, Mojeed said his ordeal began on the night of October 18, 2014, when four gun-wielding policemen from SARS broke into his house.
The businessman, who was home with his pregnant wife, 18 month-old son and mother in-law, had thought it was a robbery attack.
“They forcefully took his wedding ring and that of his wife from them, opened their wardrobe and took the sum N280,000 and the sum of N50,000 was also taken from his car, after which the Honda Accord (2008) model was seized and taken away till today,” the petition read.
Phones, landed properties, cheque books, bank cards and other valuable documents were allegedly taken from his house.
He was later arraigned on a charge of stealing N97 million and for over one year, the matter was in court but the police never showed up or brought any witness.
After several adjournments, the court reportedly struck out the charge against him.
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”.
He also alleged in the petition that on the directive of Kyari, he was taken by one Inspector Fola, Corporal Bolu and Corporal Akeem to Diamond Bank Ajah branch on October 23 and 24, 2014 to forcefully transfer the sum of N41million and N800,000 respectively from his corporate account M. Mateen Concepts into the account of one Obinna Edward, who had never been seen or heard of before, after which they shared the money.
“All these acts perpetrated on our client were exhibited with serious injuries inflicted on him due to a series of slaps and beatings for them to get access to his ATM password, signature on cheques and also transfer from his account.”
Mojeed’s counsel had confronted Kyari in his then office in Ikeja on why he would seize his money and properties without a court order, but Kyari reportedly said he had kept the money as an exhibit.
“But till date, they have not released any of the items to him including his car which we got information about, had been taken away by Abba Kyari,” the petition read.
The United States District Court for the Central District of California had indicted Kyari in the ongoing prosecution of famous Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Raymond Abass, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
Consequently, US District Judge, Hon. O. Otis, issued a warrant of arrest on Kyari and five others to appear before it in the ongoing matter.
A statement by the United States Attorney’s office, Central District of Califonia, titled, “Six indicted in international scheme to defraud Qatari school founder and then launder over N1 million in illicit proceeds” disclosed Kyari’s indictment.
Hushpuppi was charged by detectives at the Bur Dubai section for obtaining money through fraudulent means and, thereafter, extradited to the United States of America, where the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, began fresh investigation and prosecution.
He was charged in an American court, where he pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, through money laundering.