By Kayode Oyero
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has alleged that money laundering suspect, Abass Ramon, aka Hushpuppi, paid N8m or $20,600 to the embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, to arrest and detain a “co-conspirator,” Chibuzo Kelly Vincent.
A document issued by the United States District Court for the Central District of California and dated February 12, 2021, alleged that Hushpuppi contracted the services of Kyari after Chibuzo allegedly threatened to expose an alleged $1.1m fraud committed against a Qatari businessman.
“Kyari provided the account information for a bank account at a Nigerian bank, Zenith Bank, in the name of a person other than Kyari himself,” Page 59, item 145 of the document stated.
FBI Special Agent, Andrew John Innocenti, made the allegation in the ‘Criminal Complaint By Telephone Or Other Reliable Electronic Means’ filed before the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
Detailing the events leading to the alleged payment, the document stated, “On January 16, 2020, Abbas sent a message to Kyari on WhatsApp, and then placed five calls to another phone number (+2348060733588) that was listed as ‘Abba Kyari.’ Call records show that the last three of the calls were answered and that one of the calls lasted more than two minutes.
“Shortly after that, Abbas received a message from Kyari, confirming ‘We would pick him today or tomorrow.’ Abbas wrote, ‘I will take care of the team also after they pick him up.’ Kyari confirmed ‘Yes ooo.’”
The document averred that, based on the conversation described in paragraphs 143 to 145, Abbas planned to pay the Nigeria Police Force officers who arrested Chibuzo for that service.
It alleged that “This was not the only time that Abbas arranged payments with Kyari”, adding, “On May 20, 2020, Abbas sent Kyari transaction receipts for two transactions from accounts at Nigerian banks (GTBank and Zenith Bank) of a person Abbas knew in the U.A.E.— a person also arrested with Abbas in Abbas’ apartment in the U.A.E. by Dubai Police on June 9, 2020 — to the Nigerian bank accounts of another person in Nigeria.
“The amounts on the transaction receipts totalled 8 million Nigerian Naira, which was approximately $20,600 based on publicly available exchange rate information.”
The FBI document noted that, “Attempting to reason with Abbas, on January 18, 2020, Chibuzo recounted for Abbas all the assistance he had provided in the scheme to victimize the victim Businessperson, including creating the “power of attorney” document, devising a story to tell the victim Businessperson, and facilitating the creation of the “telephone banking” number and fake Wells Fargo website.
“On January 20, 2020, Kyari sent to Abbas a biographical, identifying information for Chibuzo, along with a photograph of him. In a conversation immediately following, Abbas confirmed, ‘that is him sir.’
“Kyari stated, ‘We have arrested the guy. He is in my cell now. This is his picture after we arrested him today.”
According to the document, Kyari then sent the biographical information about, and photograph of Chibuzo to Abbas, using two different WhatsApp numbers — the second of which Kyari said was his “private number.”
“From that point on, Kyari and Abbas primarily discussed the arrest and detention of Chibuzo through WhatsApp on this ‘private number,’” the document stated further.
“After receiving the photograph of Chibuzo, Abbas stated, ‘I want him to go through serious beating of his life.’ Kyari responded, ‘Hahahaha,’ and Abbas replied, ‘Seriously sir.’
“Kyari then asked for details about what Chibuzo did on audio, which Kyari said was ‘So that we will know what to do.’
“In response to Kyari’s question about what Chibuzo had done to Abbas, Abbas sent Kyari an audio message, which is transcribed here, describing how Chibuzo had tried to steal away a fraud victim (i.e., “the job”) from him:
What he did is, I have one job. The job want to pay me 500, umm, 75,000 dollars [i.e., $575,000]. He went to message the job behind me because I told him to help me make one document for me to give the job. Then he went—he has a—I gave him the details.
Then he went to message the job behind my back and try to divert the money and in this process, he tell the job because of the documents he gave me that I gave the job, he tell the job, ‘These document they sent to you before. These people are fake. This money—is me who can help you to get it. Come to me le—bring this money you want to pay these people to me. I’m the only one who can help you,’ and all these things to divert the job for himself.
“After listening to the message, Kyari wrote, “Ok I understand. But he has not succeeded.” Abbas claimed Chibuzo had taken some money, and provided Kyari with two screenshots, one of which contained the phone number 3054405586 (the phone number Chibuzo used to contact the Victim Businessperson).
“Abbas then told Kyari, ‘Now the [Victim Businessperson] was skeptic to pay me the money cos he keep attacking the [Victim Businessperson] from his end. Now I can handle the [Victim Businessperson] correctly.”
The document further alleged that “Abbas further told Kyari that he wanted to pay money to send Chibuzo to jail for a long time, stating, ‘Please sir, I want to spend money to send this boy to jail, let him go for a very long time.’
“Kyari responded, “Ok bro, I understand; I will discuss with my team who arrested him . . . And handling the case We will do something about it.’
“Abbas responded, ‘Let me know how I can send money to the team sir. Let them deal with him like armed robber.’ Kyari responded, ‘OK I will send their account details to u.’”
“Abbas further wrote, ‘He betray me and try to take food out my mouth, this is great punishable sin,’ and Kyari responded, ‘Yeah bro.’
“Abbas then continued, ‘I want him to suffer for many years.’ Kyari responded, ‘Hahahaha! Hahahaha.’”
The document alleged that, “Approximately six minutes later, Kyari provided the account information for a bank account at a Nigerian bank, Zenith Bank, in the name of a person other than Kyari himself.
“Abbas responded, ‘Ok sir, tomorrow by noon,’ indicating that he would make the payment to Kyari’s team by the next day.
“Approximately a month later, on February 19, 2020, Kyari sent a message to Abbas, saying, ‘Hello hush with [sic] need to talk about the subject under detention with me.’
“Abbas asked, ‘Should I call u on this number sir?’ to which Kyari replied ‘Yes call me.’
“The following day, Kyari sent Abbas multiple photographs of Chibuzo to Abbas, including close-up photographs showing a rash or skin disease on Chibuzo’s torso and arms.
“Abbas responded, ‘I don pity am, make them leave am from Tuesday.’ Kyari wrote, ‘Ok bro, they just brought him from hospital. The fever and the rashes is giving him serious wahala. He got the disease from other suspects in the cell.’
“Abbas responded, ‘I see am, I no too pity am. That’s what people like him deserve, but I go forgive am for God sake.’
“Abbas then said, ‘No problem sir from Tuesday he can go,” apparently giving Kyari his blessing to release Chibuzo from custody.
“Kyari responded, ‘Ok bro. We will also keep his phone and other gadgets for some weeks.’ Abbas responded, “Yes those ones they should not give him again, those ones are gone . . . Make he no see those ones again for life.’
“Kyari responded, ‘Yes he will not see it again,” indicating that he would accede to Abbas’ request.”
Kyari has been suspended by the Police Service Commission as Head of the Intelligence Response Team based on the recommendation of the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba. A panel has also been established to probe the matter. (Punch)