The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), says the United States Government and the Nigerian Government are discussing the possible extradition of the suspended Head of the Intelligence Response Team, DCP Abba Kyari, for his alleged role in a $1m scam allegedly perpetrated by alleged international Internet fraudster Ramon Abbas, aka, Hushpuppi and five others.
The AGF also said reasonable grounds for suspicion have been established against Kyari.
Malami spoke on Monday while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.
The Nigeria Police Force had probed Kyari and transmitted its findings to Malami for “legal opinion”.
Commenting on the case on Monday, Malami said, “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.”
Commenting on the probe of Kyari, the AGF said, “There are a lot of issues that are ongoing inclusive of the possibility of consideration for extradition. That is where the collaboration element of it comes into play.”
Asked if a request for Kyari’s extradition had been made by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, he said, “There could be a need or perhaps the possibility of making such request.”
Malami added, “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.”
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.
Innocenti, who said he obtained voice calls and WhatsApp conversations between Kyari and Hushpuppi, had also alleged that the latter paid the police officer N8m or $20,600 for the arrest and detention of Vincent.
The United States Attorney’s Office at the Central District of California had ordered the FBI to arrest Kyari almost a year ago.
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Kyari had taken to Facebook on July 29, 2021, to deny the allegations, but he later deleted the post after editing it about 12 times.
The Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, had recommended the suspension of Kyari, which the Police Service Commission carried out on July 31, 2021.
The police boss had on August 2, 2021, constituted the Special Investigation Panel headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Joseph Egbunike, to probe the allegations.
The findings of the probe panel had been transmitted to the AGF office which is responsible for matters regarding extradition, repatriation and transfer of suspects or wanted persons.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the court scheduled the sentencing of Hushpuppi for July 11, 2022.
Hushpuppi, who pleaded guilty to various offences bordering on internet scam and money laundering, among others, risks “20 years’ imprisonment; a 3-year period of supervised release; a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or gross loss resulting from the offence.” (The Punch)