By Tonye Bakare, Lagos, Odita Sunday, Azimazi Momoh Jimoh and Ernest Nzor, Abuja
• IGP acknowledges receipt of FBI allegations, orders review
• Kyari refutes allegation as PDP, HURIWA kick
United States authorities, yesterday, said Nigeria’s top policeman, Abba Kyari, allegedly worked with international fraudster, Ramon Abass, also known as Hushpuppi, to punish the latter’s partner with whom he defrauded a Qatari to the tune of $1.1 million.
Kyari is a well-decorated Deputy Commissioner in the Nigeria Police Force.
The allegation came after Hushpuppi reportedly pleaded guilty to charges of fraud in an American court on Tuesday.
But Kyari had denied any wrongdoing, saying Hushpuppi’s partner was arrested after his office was called about a potential case of threat to life.
“Nobody demanded any money from Abbas Hushpuppi and nobody collected any money from him,” Kyari said.
“We responded to a distress call he made on threat to his family and released the suspect when we discovered there was no life threat from the suspect.”
The United States Department of Justice said in a statement that Hushpuppi connived with one Abdulrahman Imraan Juma, a.k.a. “Abdul,” 28, of Kenya, and Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, 40, of Nigeria, to defraud the Qatari businessperson by claiming to be consultants and bankers who could facilitate a loan to finance the construction of a school.
The DoJ said the Kenyan national allegedly posed as a facilitator and consultant for the non-existing bank loans, while Hushpuppi acted as “Malik,” a Wells Fargo banker in New York.
Vincent was alleged to have “provided support for the false narratives fed to the victim by, among other things, creating bogus documents and arranging for the creation of a fake bank website and phone banking line.”
Another Nigerian, 26-year-old Yusuf Adekinka Anifowoshe, participated in the fraud with a call to the victim posing as “Malik.” Anifowoshe was arrested on July 22.
The Abba Kyari Angle
A dispute arose in the gang with Vincent, which prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud.
After Vincent contacted the Qatari businessperson, court documents claimed that Hushpuppi allegedly arranged with Abba Kyari, a deputy commissioner of police, to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria.
Kyari, according to the DoJ statement, allegedly arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed. The top cop also allegedly sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest as proof to Hushpuppi.
“Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment,” the Department of Justice said in the statement.
But Kyari told The Guardian that he never connived with the scammer. He insisted Vincent was arrested and released based on an allegation of threat to life. He also said he never collected a dime from Hushpuppi