Friday, February 23, 2024
HomeNationalHas Super Cop, Abba Kyari, Stepped on Banana Peels?

Has Super Cop, Abba Kyari, Stepped on Banana Peels?

Highly celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari’s career faces litmus test as Instagram celebrity-turned internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas (Hushpuppi) ropes in the super cop into a clingy web of crime, financial malfeasance – opening a can of worms, Louis Achi writes.

For the celebrated Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari, this is certainly not a celebratory period. Indisputably, a specially gifted cop, he has been at the cutting edge of special and high intensity investigations in the past years. Not unexpectedly, with his exploits as the head of the Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team, Kyari has endeared himself to many Nigerians.

But mid last week, a bombshell dropped on Kyari as Instagram celebrity Ramon Abbas (Hushpuppi), a Nigerian indicted in international high wire fraud said he paid Kyari bribes from his proceeds of fraud for which he was deported from Dubai to US for trial. Kyari issued a statement on Thursday debunking Abbas claim.

Kyari was roped into the muddle after the US Department of Justice quoted Hushpuppi as telling the court that he bribed the DCP to jail Chibuzor Vincent, an associate with whom he was locked in a dispute over how to share $1.1 million proceeds of a fraudulent deal against a Qatari business executive.

Vincent reportedly alerted the victim of the $1.1 million fraud and told him he was being scammed by Hushpuppi’s syndicate. It was on this basis, the court documents stated, that Hushpuppi allegedly contacted Kyari to facilitate Vincent’s arrest.

Not permitting grass to grow under his nimble feet, as news of the allegations of his dealings with Hushpuppi spiked, Kyari denied them out rightly, explaining he only facilitated Hushpuppi’s purchase of native clothing and that there hadn’t been a bribe. The DCP clarified that Hushpuppi made a distress call after threats were allegedly issued to his family by Vincent. Unfortunately for Kyari, the unfolding development is unearthing other dark dealings he was allegedly involved in on his beat.

Kyari’s core constituency, the Nigeria Police has admitted it’s been served court processes to arrest and ferry him across to the US for trial.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also said the US authorities have written it on the matter.

Hushpuppi, was arrested in the UAE in June 2020, alongside 11 of his associates, over allegations of hacking, impersonation, scamming, bank fraud, and identity theft. His extradition to the US came after the UAE police had carried out a special operation dubbed ‘Fox Hunt 2’. He was accused of defrauding 1.9 million persons of N168 billion. He was later arraigned and detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre (MCC) in Chicago, ahead of the trial.

Mid last week, he pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge, which could earn him as much as 20 years in prison if found guilty. As the current controversy unfolds further, certain key issues that could have a bearing on which way the cat jumps came to the front burner.

Kyari who has been saddled with high-profile assignments, led the operation that captured Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, the notorious billionaire kidnap kingpin better known as Evans, in 2017. Recently, Kyari, who won the police medal for courage for three successive years, was deployed to probe the attack on Governor Samuel Ortom, of Benue State. But beyond these sterling accomplishments and qualities as a police officer, he has also been accused of several dirty deals.

Amnesty International and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), had in 2018, accused Kyari of illegally draining the assets of one Collins Ezenwa, a suspected criminal, after his team killed the man. Ezenwa’s wife, at the time, alleged that Kyari and his team withdrew money from her late husband’s account and pocketed millions from his hotels. Kyari denied corruption amongst his team but did not categorically address the allegations made by Ezenwa’s wife.

The Lagos State judicial panel on #EndSARS was also told how Kyari’s squad carried out extrajudicial killings. In late 2019, a federal high court sitting in Jos, Plateau had threatened to jail Abubakar Mohammed, the then IG and Kyari, for disobeying its orders. This was after the duo failed to produce a suspect, Nanpon Sambo, who was alleged to have died in police custody in Abuja.

Kyari was also accused of extorting N41 million from one Afeez Mojeed, a Lagos-based businessman in October 2020. Mojeed claimed the extortion was done in 2014 when Kyari was the officer in charge of the now-disbanded special anti-robbery squad (SARS) in Lagos.

Mojeed claimed he unsuccessfully sought justice at the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). In a petition filed on October 22, 2020, through Salawu Akingbolu & Co, and addressed to the Lagos judicial panel of inquiry for victims of SARS-related abuses, Kyari and his officers were accused of forcefully taking about 32 items from Mojeed’s house during a raid in 2014.

The businessman, who was at home with his pregnant wife, an 18 month-old son, and mother-in-law, said phones, cheque books, bank cards, and documents were taken. After ransacking the house, Mojeed was reportedly taken to the SARS office in Ikeja where he was detained for 14 days.

He was later “arraigned on a trumped-up charge” of stealing N97 million. It was alleged that for over one year during which the matter was in court, the police “never showed up or brought any witness”.

“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, adding that the charges against him were later struck out in court.

Mojeed said 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 on October 22 to 23, 2014 and gave the sum to Alabi Olawale Nurudeen who is one of their cronies to withdraw”.

The lawyer representing the billionaire-kidnapper, Evans, had also accused officers of the Kyari-led Inspector General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team of extorting money and valuables running into hundreds of millions of naira from his client.

Olukoya Ogungbeje had petitioned the Police Service Commission (PSC) in October 2017.

The petition was also copied the National Assembly, the then Inspector General of Police, the National Human Rights Commission, and Amnesty International.

While the local allegations against Kyari could be buried under the carpet, the super cop will have more to tell the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to clear his name of Hushpuppi’s allegation.

Under due legal process, there are issues that would unfold to determine whether Kyari will be extradited to US or not, based on court pronouncement.

Kyari currently faces the greatest test that could make or mar his hard-earned reputation and destroy his glorious career.

The next few weeks will bring more clarity to the fate of the super cop.

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