U.S. authorities alleges Abba Kyari connived with Hushpuppi
• IGP acknowledges receipt of FBI allegations, orders review
• Kyari refutes allegation as PDP, HURIWA kick
United States authorities, yesterday, said Nigeria’s top policeman, Abba Kyari, allegedly worked with international fraudster, Ramon Abass, also known as Hushpuppi, to punish the latter’s partner with whom he defrauded a Qatari to the tune of $1.1 million.
Kyari is a well-decorated Deputy Commissioner in the Nigeria Police Force.
The allegation came after Hushpuppi reportedly pleaded guilty to charges of fraud in an American court on Tuesday.
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.
The Abba Kyari Angle
A dispute arose in the gang with Vincent, which prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud.
After Vincent contacted the Qatari businessperson, court documents claimed that Hushpuppi allegedly arranged with Abba Kyari, a deputy commissioner of police, to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria.
Kyari, according to the DoJ statement, allegedly arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed. The top cop also allegedly sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest as proof to Hushpuppi.
“Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment,” the Department of Justice said in the statement.
But Kyari told The Guardian that he never connived with the scammer. He insisted Vincent was arrested and released based on an allegation of threat to life. He also said he never collected a dime from Hushpuppi.
“Abbas, who we later came to know as Hushpuppi, called our office about 2years ago that somebody in Nigeria seriously threatened to kill his family here in Nigeria and he sent the person’s phone number and pleaded we take action before the person attacks his family,” Kyari said.
“We traced and arrested the suspect and after investigations, we discovered there wasn’t an actual threat to anyone’s life. And they are long time friends who have money issues between them hence we released the Suspect on bail to go and he was not taken to any jail,” he added.
How the money was laundered
On July 22, American investigators arrested two persons involved in the fraud. The duo were believed to be involved in laundering proceeds from fraud.
According to the indictment, Abbas was assisted in laundering the proceeds by Rukayat Motunraya Fashola, a.k.a. “Morayo,” 28, of Valley Stream, New York, and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka, a.k.a. “Bolamide,” 34, of Linden, New Jersey.
Anifowoshe, Fashola and Agbabiaka are to be arraigned in Los Angeles in August.
Part of the money, investigators said, was converted to $50, 000 cashier checks which Hushpuppi and another conspirator used in acquiring the citizenship of Christopher and Nevis, a tiny island nation in the Caribbean also known as Sit Kitts and Nevis.
About $230,000 of the stolen funds was allegedly used to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand-delivered to Abbas in Dubai and subsequently appeared in Hushpuppi’s social media posts.
MEANWHILE, The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, has ordered an internal review of the allegations.
In a statement by the Police Force Public Relations Officer, PFPRO, CP Fran Mba, the police acknowledged receipt of the allegation and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against DCP Abba Kyari.
It reaffirmed commitment to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with FBI, and other international partners.
According to him, further developments on the case would be communicated to members of the public accordingly.
Also, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) , has demanded a forensic investigation into the case.
The party said the revelation about the alleged involvement of Kyari, the head of Nigeria’s intelligence response unit, as a receiver of proceeds of international fraud is worrisome, disturbing and a stain on the integrity of our nation.
In a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP noted that: “it is indeed disquieting that the integrity of our nation has fallen so abysmally low under the corrupt and fraud-patronizing President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, to the extent that the head of its police intelligence unit is being charged in connection with international fraud.”
Also, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has advised Abba Kyari to travel to the United States to defend himself against the allegations.