Nigeria’s ‘super cop’ is in the news again | See details of the timeline of events

The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA), Buba Marwa, has confirmed the marking of properties belonging to the embattled suspended DCP Abba Kyari in Maiduguri, Borno, saying all proceeds of crimes must be retrieved and taken over by the government.

Reacting to the report of the marking of six houses and a plaza belonging to Kyari, the NDLEA chairman said without making reference to any particular individual, there is a law in Nigeria to recover and seize all properties of individuals indicted in crime.

What has happened?

Abba Kyari

It was reported in July 2021 that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) had an order to detain Abba Kyari, a deputy commissioner, for his links to Ramon Abbas, aka Ray Hushpuppi.

The police officer was indicted in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain and launder money in partnership with the suspected fraudster arrested in Dubai 2020.

The United States government described Abba Kyari, linked to a $1.1 million transnational internet fraudster, as a “serious risk defendant”.

A U.S. grand jury approved three charges against Kyari and five others for their roles in the scam spearheaded by Hushpuppi.

Consequent to this, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, in August 2021, approved the appointment of Tunji Disu, a deputy commissioner of police, as the new Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

Disu was posted to replace the embattled Abba Kyari, who was suspended by the Police Service Commission.

In February this year, the Nigerian Police arrested Abba Kyari, over his involvement in drug trafficking.

Police spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed that Kyari was arrested alongside four other persons.

The embattled super cop was arrested a few hours after the NDLEA declared him wanted.

The agency, at a press briefing in Abuja by its spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, said that Kyari was wanted for aiding and abetting drug pushing and running his own international cartel.

According to him, Kyari is a member of a drug cartel that operates the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria illicit drug pipeline.

The declaration by the NDLEA comes a few months after the former police intelligence unit commander was indicted in an internet fraud case by a U.S. court.

Still, in February, Abba Kyari demanded ₦500 million in damages from the NDLEA over alleged unlawful arrest and detention. He also sought an order directing the NDLEA to tender a written apology to him in two national dailies.

In March, as calls for his extradition intensified, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, recanted his earlier statement that a prima facie case of money laundering had been established against the former Commander of the Police Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari.

Malami, in a piece of legal advice, directed 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.

The AGF’s legal advice had read in part, “That there exists prima facie case of conspiracy, collaboration, receipt, conversion, transfer and/or retention of proceeds of unlawful activities contrary to the provision of sections 15, 17 & 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 the overwhelming evidence showing the nature of his disguised financial transactions and activities with Abbas Hushpuppi, Efe Martins, Usman Ibrahim Waziri, Sikiru Adekoya, Hussaini Ala and Sharon Festus, who are all confirmed members of an international Internet fraud network.

“Although the facts and circumstances of this case as contained in the case file are suggestive to money laundering offences 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, there is a need for a more thorough dissecting and tracing of the suspected 33 proceeds of crime received by DCP Abba Kyari directly or indirectly through the said accomplices.”

In a letter dated February 4, 2022, with reference number, DPPA/LA/814/21, the AGF sought to exonerate the embattled senior officer, saying there was no link between Kyari and the Hushpuppi gang.

It would later be that on April 27, Abubakar Malami persuaded the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, to further adjourn the hearing on the extradition proceeding he initiated against the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari.

Malami had, in the pending application before the court, sought the extradition of Kyari to the US to face trial over his alleged involvement with Hushpuppi.

The application, which was brought before the court on March 1, has suffered a series of adjournments.

On April 25, the NDLEA announced the arrest of a Nigerian “billionaire drug baron”, Chief Afam Mallinson Emmanuel Ukatu, Chairman of Mallinson Group.

A statement by Femi Babafemi said he is behind the ₦3 billion Tramadol deal involving Abba Kyari.

Ukatu was arrested at the MM2 terminal of the Lagos airport in Ikeja after months of surveillance and evading arrest.

Babafemi alleged that investigations have revealed that Ukatu has been a major importer of large consignments of different brands and high dosages of illicit tramadol hydrochloride, ranging from 120mg, to 200mg, 225mg and 250mg. 

Kyari’s latest ordeal

The agency marked the properties situated in Maiduguri for investigation.

The two-storey shopping plaza, Assurance Plaza, located along the Giwa Barracks Road, has about 100 shops.

Which would come first? The definite end of his case with the NDLEA, or the one with the FBI?

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