The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has debunked a report in the media that he exonerated the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari, of complicity in money laundering.
Malami, in a statement his media aide, Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, made available to newsmen on Sunday, described the report as false, saying he only recommended further investigation in the matter.
Maintaining that “there appears to be a misunderstanding regarding the issue”, the AGF, said his stance was that no conclusion has been reached in the direction of the absence of evidence relating to the first investigative report that was submitted to the Inspector-General of Police.
According to him, “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 investigation.
“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”, the statement added.
It will be recalled that Malami had earlier okayed a request for DCP Kyari to be extradited to the United States of America, USA, to face trial over his alleged involvement with an internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
Kyari is wanted in the U.S. to stand trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
A grand jury had on April 29, 2021, filed an indictment against him with the approval of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, after which a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Malami said the extradition application he filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, followed a request by the Diplomatic Representative of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja for Kyari to be surrendered for trial.
The AGF, in an affidavit that was filed in support of the extradition application, said he was satisfied that the offence in respect of which Kyari’s surrender was sought, is not political or trivial.
He said he was also satisfied that the request for Kyari to be surrendered, was not made to persecute or punish him on account of his race, religion, nationality or political opinions, but in good faith and the interest of justice.
According to him, Kyari, “if surrendered, will not be prejudiced at his trial and will not be punished, detained or restricted in his personal liberty, by reason of his race, nationality or political opinions”, adding that having regard to all the circumstances in which the alleged offence was committed, it would not be unjust or oppressive, or severe a punishment, to surrender him.
More so, Malami, noted that there was no criminal proceeding pending against Kyari in Nigeria, bordering on the same offence for which he is wanted in the USA.
The high court had on March 7, remanded Kyari and six others in custody of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, after they were arraigned on an eight-count drug trafficking charge
Kyari, who hitherto headed the Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, was docked alongside four other police officers- ACP Sunday J. Ubia, ASP Bawa James, Insp. Simon Agirigba and Insp. John Nuhu, as well as two drug traffickers that were arrested at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, Chibunna Patrick Umeibe and Emeka Alphonsus Ezenwanne.
While the police officers pleaded not guilty to the charge, the 6th and 7th Defendants, Umeibe and Ezenwanne, pleaded guilty to the charge that was read to them before trial Justice Emeka Nwite.
DCP Kyari had earlier instituted a legal action against the Federal Government to challenge his arrest and continued detention.
Aside from asking the court to order the NDLEA to release him on bail on health grounds, Kyari equally demanded for N500million and a written apology for what he termed as the unlawful violation of his fundamental human rights.
Besides, Kyari, who had since hired six Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, to defend him, in his own affidavit before the court, alleged that corrupt officials of the NDLEA assist drug traffickers to ship in Cocaine through various airports in the country
He claimed that he was framed up by a corrupt officer of the agency after he went to demand compensation for a whistleblower that gave information that led to the arrest of Umeibe and Ezenwanne by the Police IRT.