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Abba Kyari finally suspended over FBI fraud allegations

The Police Service Commission has suspended the embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police and Head of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police Force, Abba Kyari.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the spokesperson for the commission, Ikechukwu Ani.

“Abba Kyari’s suspension took effect from Saturday, July 31st 2021 and would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States.

“The Commission has also directed the Inspector General of Police to furnish it with information on further development on the matter for necessary further action.

“The Commission’s decision which was conveyed in a letter with reference, PSC/POL/D/153/vol/V/138 to the Inspector General of Police today, Sunday, August 1st, 2021, was signed by Hon. Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court and Honourable Commissioner 1 in the Commission for the Commission’s Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, a retired Inspector General of Police who is currently on leave,” the statement read.

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Alkali Baba, had recommended the immediate suspension of Kyari, the Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), from the service of the Nigeria Police Force, pending investigation into fraud allegations against him. 

The IGP, in his letter to the Police Service Commission, dated 31st July, 2021, noted that the recommendation for the suspension of the officer, is in line with the internal disciplinary processes of the Force. 

This was disclosed in a statement on Sunday with Ref No. CZ.5300/FPRD/FHQ/ABJ/VOL.4/26 by the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba.

The United States Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, had issued an arrest warrant against Kyari for his alleged links to the suspected fraudster, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, alias Hushpuppi, who is standing trial for various offences that include internet fraud and money laundering.

Hushpuppi has since pleaded guilty to the charges and, if convicted, risks a 20-year-jail term, three-year supervision upon completion of jail term, and monetary restitution to the tune of $500,000 or more.

US court documents outlined a dispute among members of the Hushpuppi conspiracy, which allegedly prompted him to arrange to have an individual identified as ‘co-conspirator’ Kelly Chibuzor Vincent, jailed in Nigeria by DCP Kyari.

According to the affidavit, “Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest.

“Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.”

The statement by the Nigeria Police said, “The IGP further noted that the suspension is also expected to create an enabling environment for the NPF Special Investigation Panel to carry out its investigations into the weighty allegations against DCP Abba Kyari without interference. The suspension is without prejudice to the constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the officer. 

“The Special Investigation Panel (SIP), comprising four (4) Senior Police Officers, is headed by DIG Joseph Egbunike, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID). The SIP, inter alia, is to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government as contained in relevant documents that have been availed the NPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The SIP is also to obtain detailed representation of DCP Abba Kyari to all the allegations levelled against him, conduct further investigations as it deems fit, and submit recommendations to guide further actions by the Force leadership on the matter. 

“Meanwhile, the IGP has reaffirmed the commitment of the Force to the Rule of Law and assured the public of the sanctity of the probe as well as the absolute respect for the rights and privileges of the officer throughout the period of the investigations.”

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