•Seeks AGF guidance, plans separate probe
•Rights lawyer, Adeleke, cautions FG, Police Commission
By Kingsley Omonobi & Nnamdi Ojiego
The Police Service Commission (PSC) yesterday said it had not received formal report on the “strange” United States (US) court arrest order on Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abba Kyari.
PSC called on the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) to guide it on the issue since it (Commission) is the body empowered to discipline erring police officers.
Meanwhile, Sunday Vanguard learnt that the PSC is planning a separate probe of the US court order to the American Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to arrest Kyari, the Commander of the Police Intelligence Response Team in connection with $1.1million fraud perpetrated by self-confessed conman, Ramon Abbas, also called Hushpuppi.
Also yesterday, a Lagos based human rights lawyer, Mr. Debo Adeleke, asked the Federal Government and the PSC to exercise caution on the Abba Kyari issue.
Recall that the United States District Court for the Central District of California indicted Kyari in the ongoing prosecution of Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi, and the District Judge, Honourable O. Otis, consequently issued a warrant of arrest on him and five others to appear before it in the ongoing matter.
Hushpuppi was arrested on June 10, 2020 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, over multiple fraud charges, alongside 11 others, in an operation, tagged ‘Fox Hunt’.
He, along other suspects, was accused of committing crimes outside the UAE, including money laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonation, scamming individuals, banking fraud and identity theft.
Abbas was extradited to the US where the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, began fresh investigation and prosecution, and was later charged in an American court where he pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, through money laundering, last Tuesday.
However, Kyari ‘s indictment according to revelations by Hushpuppi, followed a misunderstanding between the latter and one of his Nigerian associates, Vincent Chibuzor.
Court documents claimed that Hushpuppi arranged with Kyari, 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.
But Kyari dismissed the allegation through his Facebook page, saying he never collected money from the famous fraudster.
The Commissioner in charge of Media on the Board of the PSC, Mr. Austin Braimoh, in a statement, last night, said, “A formal report must come to the Commission from somewhere or someone. The PSC has no position on the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari for now. This is because there is no formal report before the Commission on the officer as we speak. All we hearing on this matter is from the media.
“We also heard that a United States Court either indicted or ordered his arrest. It sounds strange that a US court could order the arrest of a non citizen, a Nigerian citizen resident in Nigeria. Nigeria is a sovereign nation with it’s laws and justice systems. We surely must be guided by our own attorney general.
“We have to be guided by our own justice systems and courts as well as internal investigations processes. We are not aware of any petition against the officer (DCP Abba Kyari) before the police Service Commission. If the IGP has one, we believe that he will do justice to it and forward to us for necessary action at the appropriate stage”. A source told Sunday Vanguard that the PSC would conduct a separate investigation into the matter.
According to the source, “even though the IGP as the operational authority has the right to investigate any allegation against any of his officers, the final decision on punishment or discipline rests with the Police Service Commission.
“In this regard, the commission which has its own mechanisms for investigation would conduct its own probe concerning the alleged indictment before any final decision can be taken on the future of the officer.
“Yes, it is true that we will wait for the full report of the investigation and it will be treated officially by the commission in accordance with the law. The law has specific punishment for such offences if proven and they include dismissal, demotion, reduction in rank and suspension as the case may be.”
Lagos based human rights lawyer, Adeleke, asked the Federal Government to exercise caution in the handling of the indictment of Kyari.
Adeleke said if the matter was not properly looked into, Nigeria’s sovereignty could be undermined.
Describing as ridiculous the warrant of arrest granted by a Magistrate Court in America against Kyari, the lawyer said the fact that Nigeria signed an extradition treaty with US does not diminish the sovereignty of Nigeria as a state.
“The Magistrate Court in the US could not just issue a warrant of arrest on a notable police officer who has distinguished himself in the course of his duty. Abba Kyari is a national hero even in Africa and in the whole world, and has been described at many fora as a super police officer,”he stated.
“It is ridiculous to say because a Magistrate Court in the US issued a warrant of arrest, we just allow our citizen to be whisked away to the US to answer a charge. What happens to our sovereignty as a nation? Can America allow such? There is presumption of innocence.
“That order of arrest is annoying, intimidating and an insult to the corporate existence of this country, Nigeria.”
On the issue of extradition, Adeleke said there is a procedure to follow by a country based on the rule of law.
“If we concede to having an extradition treaty with the US, what happens to the universal principle of fair hearing? An accused is assumed and deemed to be innocent until proven otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction or a tribunal. You cannot start arresting an officer that has distinguished himself in the course of his career, nationally and internationally, by what is being said by a common criminal,” he added.