News July 30, 2021 at 02:30 pm

How a Nigerian police chief was caught up in the Hushpuppi scandal

Nii Ntreh July 30, 2021 at 02:30 pm

July 30, 2021 at 02:30 pm | News

Hushpuppi, whose actual name is Ramon Abbas and who gained a big social media following in Nigeria by posting pictures of his luxurious lifestyle, was extradited from Dubai to the US in July 2020 to face criminal charges. Photo: Instagram/Hushpuppi

Nigeria’s deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari, has denied participating in an intricate plan masterminded by a famous fraudster known as “Hushpuppi” to swindle a Qatari businessperson of over $1 million, according to a US indictment. According to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, Kyari, a high-ranking officer who has earned several awards, was one of six persons accused in the alleged conspiracy.

Kyari, who is wanted in the United States, issued a message on his Facebook page on Thursday denying any wrongdoing. According to the US agency, the renowned investigator was hosted by Hushpuppi in Dubai. Kyari has quickly refuted the allegations, stating that his “hands are clean.”

Nigeria has long struggled to address the issue of financial scams, which are frequently carried out via email and involve intricate webs of deception.

Hushpuppi, whose actual name is Ramon Abbas and who gained a big social media following in Nigeria by posting pictures of his luxurious lifestyle, was extradited from Dubai to the US in July 2020 to face criminal charges. He has been in US prison in Los Angeles since then, and the US Attorney’s Office said this week that he’d pled guilty to charges connected to scams that cost his victims a total of $24 million.

The recently released US grand jury indictment describes a plan in which Hushpuppi and his associates allegedly pretended to be bank officials in order to fake the funding of a Qatari school. After a disagreement among the conspirators, Kyari allegedly took money from Hushpuppi in exchange for arranging for one of his colleagues to be imprisoned in Nigeria. 

Kyari is also said to have provided Hushpuppi with information for a bank account where Hushpuppi could deposit money for Vincent’s arrest and incarceration. Kyari denied accepting money from Hushpuppi in a Facebook post and offered a different version of his contacts with the con artist.

An arrest warrant against Kyari was obtained in the United States, according to a spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office. The US District Court for the Central District of California’s Otis Wright ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to seek down Kyari and extradite him to the US for his participation in a multi-million dollar scam.

On February 12, 2021, American prosecutors requested a court order to arrest Kyari. On April 29, 2021, a new warrant was issued. On July 26, Judge Wright’s order allowing the FBI to arrest Kyari and keep him in US custody was made public.

Usman Alkali Baba, the Nigerian police chief, has authorized an internal inquiry into charges and indictment proceedings against Kyari by the FBI. In a statement released on Thursday, Nigerian police spokesman Frank Mba said the force is “dedicated to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.” 

“Sequel to the receipt of allegation and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari, the Inspector General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba psc (+), NPM, fdc has ordered an internal review of the allegations,” the police said in the statement.

Kyari, on the other hand, updated his verified Facebook profile on Friday with a message from a former Nigerian minister dismissing the whole American court’s charges against him. The post read A super cop that has risked his life protecting us from kidnappers, murderers & terrorists all these years & that has arrested more criminals than any other is accused of taking bribes from a yahoo boy & scammer all the way from America & we are expected to believe it? Not me!”

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