There are strong indications that Federation Attorney General and Justice Minister Abubakar Malami, SAN, may be plotting to save a former police intelligence response team commander, Abba Kyari, from facing a criminal prosecution for alleged money laundering.
Weeks after ordering police to question him for allegedly receiving 33 proceeds of crime, stating that a money laundering case had been established against Kyari, the Minister of Justice, in a new legal opinion, has stated that there was no evidence to show that the money had been laundered by the senior police officer.
Deputy Police Commissioner Kyari, wanted in the US for his alleged involvement in a $1.1million scam carried out by notorious internet scammer, Ramon Abass, aka Hushpuppi, was suspended by police last July .
He also faces eight counts of conspiracy, obstruction and trafficking of cocaine, and other related offenses at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The other defendants in the charge marked FHC/ABJ/57/2022 are four IRT members, Sunday Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba and John Nuhu.
Two other suspects arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne, were also on the list of defendants.
Following the report of the Special Inquiry Commission which investigated Kyari’s alleged links to Hushpuppi, the AGF claimed in January that police investigations had charged the former IRT commander with money laundering. money.
Malami, in a legal opinion, therefore ordered the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba, to carry out further investigations, noting that a prima facie case of money laundering had been established against the DCP.
He also said the force should step up the investigation into 33 proceeds of crime received by the former IRT commander.
Our correspondent had exclusively reported that police investigations revealed how international crooks led by Hushpuppi paid 235,120,000 naira to Kyari’s younger brother.
The police report also states that Kyari also paid 44 million naira into her brother’s bank account in several transactions.
The AGF legal opinion reads in part: “There is a prima facie case of conspiracy, collaboration, receipt, conversion, transfer and/or retention of the proceeds of unlawful activities contrary to the provisions of Articles 15, 17 and 18 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004 and Section 17 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, Cap E, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, against DCP Abba Kyari and other suspects in view of overwhelming evidence showing the nature of his disguised financial dealings and activities with Abbas Hushpuppi, Efe Martins, Usman Ibrahim Waziri, Sikiru Adekoya, Hussaini Ala and Sharon Festus, all of whom are confirmed members of an international network of Internet fraud.
“Although the facts and circumstances of this case as contained in the record suggest money laundering offenses against DCP Abba Kyari and his accomplices, namely: Abbas Hushpuppi, Efe Martins, Usman Ibrahim Waziri, Sikiru Adekoya, Hussaini Ala and Sharon Festus; to successfully prosecute them, it is necessary to dissect and trace in greater depth the 33 alleged proceeds of crime received by DCP Abba Kyari directly or indirectly through the said accomplices.
However, Malami, in his latest advice, contradicted his January directive that Kyari should be questioned for money laundering and receiving 33 proceeds of crime.
In a letter dated February 4, 2022, reference number DPPA/LA/814/21, the AGF sought to exonerate the embattled senior officer, saying there was no connection between Kyari and the gang. Hushpuppi.
According to the letter written on behalf of the AGF by the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, the evidence contained in the case diary “was not sufficient to indicate or show that the said funds (279 million naira) were laundered directly or indirectly by Kyari to disguise their origin.
The Attorney General’s new position was contained in a letter titled, ‘Re: Forwarding of Nigerian Police Special Investigation Team Investigation Report and Request for Legal Advice in Relation to Allegations of Criminal Conspiracy, Aid and abetting Internet fraud, wire fraud, identity theft and money laundering against DCP Abba Kyari”.
The letter addressed to the IG, read in part as follows: “I am instructed to inform you that after careful study of the said response in which you stated that “the funds have been traced to Zenith Bank account no. 2255416115 owned by Usman Ibrahim Waziri; Guaranty Trust Bank account number. 0130665392 owned by Adekoya Sikiru; Zenith Bank account number. 2080537566 belonging to Hussein Ala and other funds went to Sharon Festus. The funds were withdrawn and used by the above account holders and the lady.
“We find that the above response did not link the suspect, DCP Abba Kyari, to the money laundering offense as the evidence in the case log is not sufficient to indicate or show that said funds were laundered directly or indirectly by Kyari to disguise their origin, especially since the aforementioned recipients or receivers exonerated it in their statements as having nothing to do with the money.
The Justice Minister said the police may wish to explore their internal disciplinary action against Kyari through the Police Services Board for breaching the code of conduct for law enforcement officers by dating suspected fraudsters and people of questionable means in his capacity as senior officer and leader. of the IRT.
Malami also said Kyari could be disciplined for violating police social media policy by responding to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Facebook indictment; violating the Police Code of Ethics by accepting and acting on complaints without using established protocol and by detaining a suspect, Vincent Chibuzor, for more than a month without a valid court order and without respect for his fundamental human rights .
DPP criticizes police for not probing shortcomings in report
But the DPP said the AGF’s new position was based on the police report, noting that the police had not probed the shortcomings identified in their investigation by the department.
Abubakar insisted the ministry did not say there was no evidence of money laundering against Kyari.
The DPP said: “We have said that in the absence of evidence, further investigation is needed and that they should move forward to try him for the administrative offenses they have identified. We said they (the police) should make the connections – the money trail.
“Instead of them going to further investigate the shortcomings we identified, they didn’t. They just replied to say “check paragraphs such and such”. We say no, these paragraphs have not sufficiently established the things that we say you should establish.
Meanwhile, police have yet to submit a new report on Kyari, as requested by the CPS.
The commission rejected the police investigation into Kyari by the SIP led by DIG Joseph Egbunike. He ordered a new one, which should have been submitted on February 25.
Although it was established that a total of 279.120 million naira was paid into young Kyari’s bank account at various times by members of the cyberscam syndicate, the panel failed to invite him or to interrogate him.
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