The Federal Government has commenced moves to extradite a suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to face fraud charges in the United States of America.
Vanguard Newspaper reports that the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami filed an extradition application at the Federal High Court in Abuja following a request by the Diplomatic Representative of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
The request from the U.S. authorities, according to Mr Malami, is “for the surrender of Abba Alhaji Kyari, who is a subject in a superseding three counts indictment”.
The AGF said in the application that he was satisfied that the offences in respect of which Mr Kyari’s surrender was sought were neither political nor trivial.
This comes some weeks after Mr Malami said in an interview on Channels Televison that there were ongoing extradition talks between the Nigerian and U.S. governments over the pending charges against the suspect in the U.S.
Mr Malami said in the interview that reasonable grounds were already established to proceed against Mr Kyari on the basis of the allegations against him.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the U.S. government, in July 2021, named Mr Kyari, a celebrated police officer, among co-conspirators of Ramon Abass, aka Huspuppi, an Instagram celebrity, in a multi-million-dollars money laundering fraud.
Hushpuppi is awaiting judgement after pleading guilty to the charges in a separate case at the Central District Court of Central District of California.
Mr Kyari is named among five of Hushpuppi’s conspirators in a $1.1 million fraud charge approved by a U.S. grand jury.
Mr Kyari, while on suspension over his roles in the Hushpuppi’s case, was fingered by the NDLEA in a 25kg cocaine deal earlier this year.
‘Kyari won’t suffer racial discrimination’
In the application marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/249/2022, filed under the Extradition Act, Mr Malami assured that the request by the U.S. authorities was not made to persecute punish Mr Kyari on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions but in good faith and the interest of justice.
“If surrendered,” the AGF said Mr Kyari “will not be prejudiced at his trial and will not be punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty, by reason of his race, nationality or political opinions”.
He also assured the court that given the nature of the offences he was being requested for, “it will not be unjust or oppressive, or be too severe a punishment, to surrender him”.
The AGF also said there were no criminal proceedings pending against Mr Kyari in Nigeria on the same offences he was being sought for in the U.S.
Request from U.S. government
Earlier, the Diplomatic Representative of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, had in its request to Mr Malami, noted that a warrant for Mr Kyari’s arrest issued by a U.S. District Court “remains valid and executable to apprehend Kyari”.
Vanguard quoted the request as reading, “On April 29, 2021, based on the indictment filed by the grand jury and with the approval of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, a deputy clerk of the court issued a warrant of arrest for Kyari.
“The arrest warrant remains valid and executable to apprehend Kyari for the crimes with which he is charged in the indictment.
“Kyari is wanted to stand trial in the United States for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, and identity theft.
“Kyari is the subject of an indictment in case Number 2:21-cr-00203 (also referred to as 2:21-MJ-00760 and 2:21-CR-00203-RGK), filed April 29, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.”
Mr Kyari, along with five other defendants, faces three charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alleged that Mr Kyari and co-conspirators were part of a scheme spearheaded by Hushpuppi to defraud a businessperson in Qatar between November 2019 and April 2020.
The charges read: “Count 1: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years;
“Count 2: Conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 1956(h), carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
“Count 3: Aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting that offence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1028A(a)(1) and 2(a), carrying a maximum term of imprisonment of two years.”
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