Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, says he was tricked by suspected internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, aka Ray Hushpuppi, into arresting a fellow fraudster.
Abba Kyari says Hushpuppi tricked Police to arrest fellow fraudster in N451 million scam
Kyari says he was tricked into arresting Vincent two years ago, and no money exchanged hands.
United States court documents unsealed this week alleged that Hushpuppi arranged for Kyari to have one Kelly Chibuzo Vincent arrested following a conflict over an ongoing scam the two were running.
The two fraudsters conspired with others to steal more than $1.1 million from a businessperson attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar.
A dispute between the duo forced Vincent to contact the victim to redirect proceeds to himself, prompting his partner to take him out with a high-ranking law enforcement officer in Nigeria.
According to the affidavit, Kyari carried out the request and sent Hushpuppi photographs of an imprisoned Vincent, as well as account details for his payment.
In a statement released on Thursday, July 29, 2021, Kyari said no money exchanged hands, and he was tricked into arresting Vincent two years ago.
He said Hushpuppi had alleged that Vincent threatened to kill his family in Nigeria, and begged the Police Force to take action.
"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 arranged 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.
UPDATE: Court records contradict Kyari's claims
Additional details that have emerged after Kyari's statement heavily contradict 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.
He has now been indicted and wanted in the U.S. for conspiracy to fraudulently obtain and launder money.
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.
Other co-conspirators indicted this week are Abdulrahman Juma, Rukayat Motunrayo Fashola, and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka.
Court filings made public this week showed Hushpuppi has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in money laundering, with the schemes causing more than $24 million in losses.
He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he's sentenced later by a Los Angeles court.
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