Nigeria begins extradition of top cop Abba Kyari to US
The Nigerian Government has started the extradition process of top policeman Abba Kyari accused by the United States of colluding with known fraudster Abbas Olorunwa, also known as Hushpuppi, to carry out fraudulent activities.
Kyari is a well-decorated Deputy Commissioner in the Nigeria Police Force.
He is also facing separate drug charges in Nigeria after being accused by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of being a member of an international drug cartel.
The Nation reported that Nigeria’s attorney-general Abubakar Malami filed before the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja for Kyari’s extradition.
Malami said the extradition request from the United States authorities was just and not meant to persecute Kyari.
“If surrendered, will not be prejudiced at his trial and will not be punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty, by reason of his race, nationality or political opinions,” Malami said.
Kyari is wanted in the US for Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years; conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1956(h), carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting that offence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(1) and 2(a), carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of two years.
United States authorities on July 29, 2021, said Kyari, allegedly worked with Hushpuppi to punish the latter’s partner with whom he defrauded a Qatari to the tune of $1.1 million.
The allegation came after Hushpuppi reportedly pleaded guilty to charges of fraud in an American court last July.
But Kyari had denied any wrongdoing, saying Hushpuppi’s partner was arrested after his office was called about a potential case of threat to life.
“Nobody demanded any money from Abbas Hushpuppi and nobody collected any money from him,” Kyari said.
“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.”
The United States Department of Justice said in a statement that Hushpuppi connived with one Abdulrahman Imraan Juma, a.k.a. “Abdul,” 28, of Kenya, and Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, 40, of Nigeria, to defraud the Qatari businessperson by claiming to be consultants and bankers who could facilitate a loan to finance the construction of a school.
The DoJ said the Kenyan national allegedly posed as a facilitator and consultant for the non-existing bank loans, while Hushpuppi acted as “Malik,” a Wells Fargo banker in New York.
Vincent was alleged to have “provided support for the false narratives fed to the victim by, among other things, creating bogus documents and arranging for the creation of a fake bank website and phone banking line.”
Another Nigerian, 26-year-old Yusuf Adekinka Anifowoshe, participated in the fraud with a call to the victim posing as “Malik.” Anifowoshe was arrested on July 22.