The clean image of one of the most decorated crime fighters in Nigeria, DCP Abba Kyari, was under questioning on Wednesday after it emerged that he had been fingered in a $1.1 million swindle of a Qatari businessperson by flamboyant Instagram sensation, Ramon ‘Hushpuppi’ Abbas.
In court documents, Hushpuppi, who pleaded guilty to money laundering in the United States, recounted how he allegedly paid Kyari to help facilitate the arrest of a co-fraudster.
Federal authorities in the U.S. have been investigating Hushpuppi and his co-conspirators after their syndicate was busted in Dubai, New York and other top cities last June.
Officials said in court filings that Hushpuppi disclosed during interrogation that he paid Kyari, a deputy police commissioner, to have one of his rivals arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a row among Hushpuppi and his fellow fraudster over a $1.1 million swindle of a Qatari businessperson.
According to court documents, Hushpuppi had asked Kyari to apprehend and imprison a fellow fraudster Kelly Chibuzor Vincent after a dispute ensued presumably on how to share the $1.1 million proceeds of fraud swindled from the Qatari businessperson.
Vincent later contacted the victim and informed them that they were being defrauded by a syndicate involving him and Mr Abbas.
Vincent’s move infuriated Hushpuppi, who swiftly leveraged on his cordial relationship with the Nigerian police force to get back at Vincent.
Hushpuppi allegedly reached out to Kyari to arrest and jail his rival over the dispute. After he had done the bidding of the infamous famous fraudster, Kyari allegedly sent pictures of Vincent behind bars to Hushpuppi and he subsequently sent his bank account number to Hushpuppi to which a wire transfer should be made for job well done.
“Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud. After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria.
“According to the affidavit, Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest. Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment,” U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.
After the $1.1 million fraud was sailed through, Hushpuppi went on a spree of extravagant spending. He spent $230,000 on a watch and also bribed officials at St. Kitts and Nevis for his citizenship of that island country.
“Approximately $230,000 of the stolen funds allegedly were used to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand-delivered to Abbas in Dubai and subsequently appeared in Hushpuppi’s social media posts.
“Other illicit proceeds from the scheme were allegedly converted into cashier’s checks, including $50,000 in checks that were used by Abbas and a co-conspirator to fraudulently acquire a St. Christopher and Nevis citizenship, as well as a passport for Abbas obtained by creating a false marriage certificate and then bribing a government official in St. Kitts,” officials said.
Hushpuppi pleaded guilty to multimillion-dollar fraud earlier this month and faces up to 20 years in jail. He will be sentenced in the coming weeks and will forfeit some of his assets and his rights to appeal while also paying reparation to victims of his fraud.