Since Peoples Gazette broke the news last week that a judge in the United States had issued a warrant of arrest for Nigeria’s disgraced police officer Abba Kyari, questions have spread as to why.
You see, the U.S. accused the Nigerian deputy police commissioner of conniving with Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas, a notorious Nigerian fraudster based in Dubai, to defraud a Qatari businessperson of $1.1 million. So Nigerians have been asking: what is the business of the U.S. in all of this, after all, neither Mr Kyari nor Hushpuppi nor even the victim was in the U.S. when the crime was allegedly committed?
Unlike in previous cases, say Obinwanne Okeke, Bidemi Rufai or Allen Onyema who committed their alleged fraud in the U.S., America’s interest in Mr Kyari’s case was not immediately apparent in court filings. Even though the indictment was lengthy and detailed in establishing connivance in wire fraud and money laundering, while making direct connections between other co-conspirators and America, The Gazette had to write the U.S. prosecutors to get clarification as to how Mr Kyari violated American law that would justify his extradition.
Here’s what we learnt.
American prosecutors, in their complaint, established a relationship between Mr Kyari and Hushpuppi. They also established that there was a relationship between Hushpuppi and two female co-conspirators in the U.S.
Motunrayo Fashola, who has a child with Hushpuppi, has been a resident of New York; while Bolatito Agbabiaka has been living in New Jersey. Both women were in charge of Wells Fargo and Capital One bank accounts used by the syndicate to defraud the Qatari businessperson.
Mr Kyari arrested and detained Chibuzo Vincent for five weeks to block him from further dissuading the Qatari businessperson not to send money to the U.S. bank accounts run by the two women for Hushpuppi.
Since it was clear in the indictment that Mr Kyari knew that holding Chibuzo was only to allow Hushpuppi to defraud the Qatari businessperson of an additional $575,000 as Hushpuppi specifically mentioned to Mr Kyari, this made Mr Kyari an accomplice in the fraud that passed through American banks.
After the Qatari businessperson, who was not identified in court filings, transferred funds into the American bank accounts, Messrs Fashola and Agbabiaka collected the money and laundered it, through purchases and wire transfers directed by Hushpuppi.
In the document, prosecutors said Mr Kyari received his share through proxies from Hushpuppi after the Qatari businessperson transferred the money to American banks for Hushpuppi’s female co-conspirators. This made American banks victim of a scheme in which Mr Kyari was a key player, thus the country’s interest.
Both count one (wire fraud) and count two (money laundering) “had ties to the United States, through both bank accounts in the U.S. and defendants located in the U.S.,” Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, told The Gazette in an emailed statement.
Following Mr Kyari’s suspension from the Nigeria Police Force, American prosecutors are expected to expedite their request for the disgraced officer’s extradition from Nigeria to face charges for taking part in a scheme, proceeds of which were transferred to and laundered through banks in America — where at least two co-conspirators are based.