FOLLOWING MEDIA BACKLASH, MALAMI RECANTS EXONERATING ABBA KYARI.
Written by AIGBOKHAEBHO OKHUELEIGBE on March 14, 2022
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN has described as false the media reports that his Office had conclusively exonerated suspended “super cop” DCP Abba Kyari.
The clarification was made in a press statement issued by Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice.
According to the statement, Malami says there is a misunderstanding regarding the issue as It was a case of work in progress in respect of which the office of the Attorney General of the federation requested for further probe in relation to some aspects of the ongoing investigation of suspended Commander of the Police Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari’s, alleged money laundering.
Gwandu said the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice’s stance is that no conclusion has been reached in the direction of the absence of evidence relating to the first report.
The issues were raised for further investigation with a view to cover the field in the investigation in order to arrive at an informed decision.
Earlier, there were strong indications that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, may be plotting to save a former Abba Kyari, from facing criminal prosecution for alleged money laundering.
The speculations arose as a letter dated February 4, 2022, sufficed where the AGF sought to exonerate the embattled senior officer, saying there was no link between Kyari and the Hushpuppi gang.
According to the letter written on behalf of the AGF by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Justice, Mohammed Abubakar, the evidence contained in the case diary was not sufficient to indicate or show that the said monies (N279m) were laundered directly or indirectly by Kyari to disguise their origin.
Observers have faulted the Police report that exonerated Kyari from money laundering with Hushpuppi as it failed to interrogate Kyari’s brother who received more than 200 million Naira payment from Hushppupi
Weeks after the AGF directed the police to probe him for allegedly receiving 33 proceeds of crime, stating that a case of money laundering had been established against Kyari, Malami in new legal advice said there was no evidence to show that money was laundered by the senior police officer.
The DPP said the AGF’s new position was based on the police report, noting that the police failed to probe the gaps identified in their investigation by the ministry.
Abubakar insisted that the ministry did not say there was no evidence of money laundering against Kyari.
Abba Kyari, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, who was suspended by the police in July 2021, is wanted in the United States for alleged involvement in a $1.1m scam carried out by a notorious Internet scammer, Ramon Abass, also known as Hushpuppi.
Kyari is also facing eight counts of conspiracy, obstruction, and dealing in cocaine, and other related offenses at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
He is facing an 8 count charge along with four members of the IRT, Sunday Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba, and John Nuhu, but pleaded not guilty to the charges during the trial in court in Abuja.
Two other suspects who were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, were also arraigned alongside Kyari and pleaded guilty to the charges of drug trafficking leveled against them.
Sequel to the report of the Special Investigation Panel which probed Kyari’s alleged links to Hushpuppi, the AGF affirmed in January that investigations carried out by the police indicted the former IRT commander for money laundering.
Malami, in legal advice, therefore, directed the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to carry out further investigations, noting that a prima facie case of money laundering had been established against the DCP.
The AGF said the police might wish to explore their internal disciplinary measures against Kyari through the Police Service Commission for breaching the code of conduct for law enforcement officers by hobnobbing with suspected fraudsters in his capacity as a senior officer and head of the Intelligent Response Team.
Malami also said Kyari could be sanctioned for violating the social media policy of the police by responding to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s indictment on Facebook; breaching the Police Code of Professional Ethics by accepting complaints and acting on such without recourse to established protocol and detaining a suspect, Vincent Chibuzor, for over a month without a valid court order and regards to his fundamental human rights.