Olajengbesi in a statement on Sunday said journalists should be allowed to cover Kyari’s trial.
Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the Nigeria-based lawyers of Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Igboho, has demanded that the trial of suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, over alleged bribery be made open.
On Sunday, August 1, 2021, the Police Service Commission suspended Kyari over his alleged involvement in a $1.1m internet fraud with a notorious fraudster, Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi.
The police said kyari’s suspension “would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States.”
Commending the police for investigating the case against the embattled officer, Olajengbesi in a statement on Sunday said journalists should be allowed to cover Kyari’s trial.
The statement reads in part, “Indeed, it is rather uncommon in our experience as a people to find such spine and resolve in our hero-worship climate where a few persons are revered above the law and due process. IGP Usman Bala has demonstrated appreciable commitment to the resolution of this matter in the interest of truth and justice and must now see that he stands steadfast to this path even in the face of expected pressure to do otherwise.
“DCP Abba Kyari who had hitherto assumed a rather amused and dismissive approach to the serious allegations against his person and office, must take good advantage to clear his name by making himself available for the investigations to allow the Nigeria Police Force to run a fine comb through the allegations brought forward against his person before the SIP led by Deputy Inspector-General Joseph Egbunike.
“The Special Investigation Panel must undertake the task before them with a sense of duty and loyalty only to the truth. It must rid itself of bias considerations for, favourable or unfavourable disposition to DCP Kyari while equally availing him ample opportunity to make a representation of his defence against the allegations against him.
“The very image of the Nigeria Police Force, particularly its ethos and claims to be corruption-free is being examined by the watchful public at national and international levels. IGP Usman Alkali Bala thus have an uphill task to dutifully acquit itself in this matter and in doing so, help save the reputation of the Nigeria Police Force.
“It is therefore a demand in the interest of justice that the conduct of the investigations be transparent and open, with full press access. The Nigeria Police Force should know that Nigerians are struggling to trust the process and in view of this the Press must be allowed unfettered access to its proceedings for record and posterity sake, too.”
Kyari has been indicted in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain and launder money.
A high ranking police officer in Nigeria is wanted in the United States of America over his alleged link to an internet fraudster who has pleaded guilty to fraud resulting in millions of dollars in losses.
U.S. court filings unsealed this week show that the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has an order to detain Abba Kyari, a deputy commissioner, for his links to Ramon Abbas, aka Ray Hushpuppi.
The celebrated police officer was indicted in a conspiracy to fraudulently obtain and launder money in partnership with the suspected fraudster arrested in Dubai last year.
Investigations by the FBI showed the two first interacted in September 2019 when Kyari travelled to the United Arab Emirates.
Hushpuppi sent him a car and a driver to drive him around on the trip, and received a video slideshow of personal photographs from the police officer.
Hushpuppi texted Kyari “Am really happy to be ur boy”, and “I promise to be a good boy to u sir” in separate replies to a news article the officer sent him reporting his arrest of some alleged kidnappers.
They were reported to have kept in touch through texts and phone calls afterwards, up until May 2020, a month before the fraudster was arrested.
The link between the two was made public following the unsealing of an indictment involving the two and four others who scammed a Qatari businessperson of $1.1 million.
Court documents alleged that Hushpuppi arranged for Kyari to have his co-conspirator, Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, arrested following a disagreement over sharing of proceeds of the ongoing scam.
Vincent had contacted the victim to divert the loot to himself, prompting Hushpuppi to threaten him with repercussions which later came in the form of police intervention.
According to the affidavit, Kyari carried out the request and sent Hushpuppi photographs of a detained Vincent, as well as account details to receive his monetary reward.
As details of the link between the two trickled to the Nigerian media in bits on Thursday, July 29, 2021, the police officer denied the allegation, claiming that he was tricked into arresting Vincent over allegations he threatened Hushpuppi’s family.
“We traced and arrested the suspect and after investigations, we discovered there wasn’t an actual threat to anyone’s life, and they are long time friends who have money issues between them,” he said.
Kyari also revealed that the suspect was immediately released on bail, but the relationship between the two didn’t end there.
He said Hushpuppi had admired native clothes and caps he saw on his social media page and requested an arrangement for something similar to be made for him.
The police officer acted as middleman between the fraudster and the cloth merchant.
“Nobody demanded any money from Abbas Hushpuppi and nobody collected any money from him,” he said, maintaining that his hands are clean.
Additional details that emerged after his statement heavily contradicted his claims, with cellphone records extracted from Hushpuppi’s phone showing the two had an extensive relationship.
A portion of the extracted records showed Hushpuppi explicitly told Kyari that Vincent sabotaged a job he was running, and asked that his partner be given ‘serious beating of his life’.
“Please sir I want to spend money to send this boy to jail, let him go for a very long time,” he texted Kyari after Vincent was arrested on January 20.
“Let me know how I can send money to the team sir. Let them deal with him like armed robber,” he said in another text message.
Kyari alerted Hushpuppi a month later that Vincent had fallen ill in custody, suffering from fever and rashes he got from cellmates.Hushpuppi later told the officer to release the detainee on February 25, but without his electronic devices, a request Kyari accepted.
The records also showed the police officer provided the account information for a bank account at Zenith Bank, an account not registered in his name.
Hushpuppi in May 2020 sent the police officer receipts for two bank transactions totalling $20,600 (over N8 million) sent to a Nigerian bank account, payments speculated to have been a bribe paid to his team.
The FBI said Kyari’s knowing involvement in the scheme allowed Hushpuppi and others to continue defrauding the victim undetected.
Kyari is the commander of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team and highly regarded in security circles.He was recently honoured by the House of Representatives for his hard work and outstanding performance.
“He is an honour to the Police force and to the country he serves,” House Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said.
The 46-year-old has in the past faced serious allegations of misconduct, but faced no serious investigations.
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