By John Ikani
Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubarkar Malami, on Monday said the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari may be extradited to the United States for alleged involvement in a $1.1 million internet fraud by an Instagram celebrity Abbas Ramon, also known as Hushpuppi, and four others against a Qatari businessman.
Kyari, a highly decorated DCP was the most celebrated crime-buster in the Nigerian Police Force, leading him to be given the sobriquet of a “Supercop” for his extraordinary, if not close to legendary, prowess in tracking down and nabbing armed robbers and kidnappers.
However, he was in 2021 indicted as a conspirator in a $1.1m fraud deal involving Instagram celebrity Hushpuppi.
The indictment led to Kyari’s suspension and an internal investigation was launched, amid calls for him to be extradited to the US.
Malami, who appeared as a guest in Channels Television’s night program, Politics Today, disclosed that “reasonable ground for suspicion” was established against DCP Kyari in the report of a police panel that investigated corruption allegations that were levelled against him by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI.
Asked if the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had requested the extradition of Kyari, who until his suspension was the Head of the Intelligence Response Team, Malami said, “There could be a need or perhaps the possibility of making such request.”
“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 Minister said.
It would be recalled that DCP Kyari was indicted by the FBI in the multi-million naira advanced fee fraud said to have been perpetrated by Hushpuppi.
Court documents also showed that Hushpuppi arranged for Kyari to have one Kelly Chibuzo Vincent arrested following a conflict over an ongoing scam the two were running.
However, a dispute between the duo forced Vincent to contact the victim to expose the fraud, prompting his partner to take him out with a high-ranking law enforcement officer in Nigeria.
According to the affidavit, Kyari carried out the request and sent Hushpuppi photographs of an imprisoned Vincent, as well as account details for his payment.
A total of six people, including Hushpuppi, Kyari, and Vincent, were indicted for conspiracy to fraudulently obtain and launder money.
Other co-conspirators indicted are Abdulrahman Juma, Rukayat Motunrayo Fashola, and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka.