Deputy Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari on Thursday denied allegations he ever demanded or received a bribe from celebrity internet fraudster Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, alias Hushpuppi, from a $1.1million loot.
In a post on his Facebook page, Kyari said those celebrating the allegations against him would be disappointed.
Hushpuppi, who is known for his luxury lifestyle, was arrested in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in June 2020 alongside 11 of his associates over allegations bordering on hacking, impersonation, scamming, banking fraud, and identity theft
He recently pleaded guilty in the United States and, according to court documents, narrated how he bribed Kyari following the decorated policeman’s alleged role in arresting and jailing – at Hushpuppi’s request – his fraud rival Kelly Chibuzor Vincent after both were locked in a dispute.
According to the US Department of Justice, a criminal complaint initiated the prosecution of Hushpuppi in February as court documents ordered unsealed showed that Abbas, 37, pleaded guilty on April 20.
A version of Abbas’ plea agreement filed late Tuesday outlines his role in the school-finance scheme, as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes that cumulatively caused more than $24million in losses.
Officials said in court filings that Abbas disclosed during interrogation that he paid bribes to Kyari, to have one of his rivals arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a dispute over a $1.1million dupe of a Qatari businessperson.
Abbas had asked Kyari to arrest and jail Vincent after both were locked in a dispute presumably over how to share the $1.1million loot received from the Qatari businessperson.
Vincent subsequently contacted the victim and informed them that they were being scammed by a syndicate involving him and Abbas.
This elicited anger from Abbas, who contacted Kyari to arrest and jail his rival over the dispute.
Abbas said Kyari sent pictures of Vincent in jail and subsequently sent his bank account number to Abbas to which a wire transfer should be made having done a good job as sent by Abbas.
According to the affidavit, Kyari 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 successful, Abbas 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.
But responding to the allegations in a Facebook post Thursday morning, Kyari dissociated himself from any such corrupt practice.
Kyari said: “Friends: Abbas who we later came to know as Hushpuppi called our office about two years ago that somebody in Nigeria seriously threatened to kill his family here in Nigeria and he sent the person’s Phone number and pleaded we take action before the Person attacks his family.
“We traced and arrested the suspect and after investigations we discovered there wasn’t an actual threat to anyone’s life and they are longtime friends who have money issues between them hence we released the suspect on bail to go and he was not taken to any jail.
“Nobody demanded for a kobo from Abbas Hushpuppi. Our focus was to save people’s lives that were purported to have been threatened.
“Later, he saw some of my native clothes and caps on my social media page and he said he likes them and he was connected to the person selling the clothes and he sent about N300k directly to the person’s account. The Native Clothes and Caps (5 sets) were brought to our office and he sent somebody to collect them in our office.
“Nobody demanded any money from Abbas Hushpuppi and nobody collected any money from him. We responded to a distress call he made on threat to his family and released the suspect when we discovered there was no life threat from the suspect. This is the true story. Vincent is alive, he can be contacted.”
The police chief said his hands were clean
Kyari added: “Our record of service for two decades is open for everybody to see. They will continue seeing us serving our father land and we will continue responding to ALL distress calls from ALL Nigerians provided they are life threatening.
“For good Nigerians who appreciate our service please don’t worry as our hands are clean and they should please not respond to those celebrating and creating many false narratives without any Evidence. We are used to such types of people and false newsmakers and distributors.
“Thank you all and GOD bless Nigeria.”
Abbas faces up to 20 years in jail, following his guilty plea.
He will be sentenced in the coming weeks and will forfeit some of his assets and his rights to appeal while also paying restitution to victims of his years-long fraud.