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Hushpuppi: U.S Govt Tags Abba Kyari ‘Serious Risk Defendant’, Files Three Charges Against Him

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The United States government has described Abba Kyari, one of Nigeria’s celebrated cops, linked to a $1.1million transnational internet fraudster, as a “serious risk defendant”.

A U.S. grand jury has approved three charges against Mr Kyari and five others for their roles in the scam spearheaded by a former Nigerian Instagram celebrity, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.

Hushpuppi, then a resident of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), was arrested in June 2020 in connection to the case and other fraudulent schemes.

He was charged in a separate case and has now pleaded guilty at a U.S. District Court of Central District of California to the crime.

Approving the charges earlier proposed by the U.S. government, the grand jury alleged that Mr Kyari, Hushpuppi “together with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, knowingly conspired to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343”.

They were also accused of conducting financial transactions involving proceeds of unlawful activity and aiding and abetting illegal use and transfer of a means of identification.

Other defendants named alongside Mr Kyari are Abdulrahman Juma (aka Abdul and Rahman), Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, Rukayat Motunrayo Fashola (aka Morayo), Bolatito Takakalitu Agbabiaka (aka Bolamide), and Yusuf Adeyinka Anifowoshe (aka AJ and Alvin Johnson).

Following the grand jury’s approval of the charges, Otis Wright, the same judge handling Hushpuppi’s case, made the order unsealing the indictment against Mr Kyari and others on July 26.

The judge in issuing the unsealing order also granted the government’s request for a detention order and an arrest warrant against Mr Kyari.

The U.S. government’s ‘Notice for Request of Request For Detention’ signed by an Assistant Attorney of the U.S government, Anil Antony, highlighted the reasons for asking for Mr Kyari’s arrest and his subsequent detention.

“Plaintiff, United States of America, by and through its counsel of record, hereby requests detention of defendant,” the document read, in part, and further gave “material factors” necessitating the request.

It said, the government “is entitled to detention hearing under § 3142(f)” because Mr Kyari as “serious risk defendant will flee”.

It also said the pretrial detention was requested “because no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure: the appearance of the defendant as required”.

Abba Kyari’s involvement

Hushpuppi, a resident of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), until his arrest in June 2020, had contacted Mr Kyari to arrange the arrest of one of the arrowheads of the heist, Chibuzo (Vincent), who was unhappy over his share of the proceeds of the fraud and was prepared to hint the victim, a Qatari businessperson, to stop payments.

“CHIBUZO’s messages to ABBAS during that time show that he was unhappy with the amount that, and/or speed with which, ABBAS was paying him, so he contacted the Victim Businessperson directly,” a special agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Andrew John Innocenti, said in an affidavit filed in support of the charge.

Mr Innocenti, whose account was based on message conversation extracted from Abass telephones, added, “CHIBUZO told the Victim Businessperson that JUMA and ABBAS were ‘fake,’ in an attempt to convince the Victim Businessperson to stop making fraudulent payments to ABBAS and JUMA and to make fraudulent payments to him instead.

“When JUMA and ABBAS learned of CHIBUZO’s interference, ABBAS arranged to have KYARI—a highly decorated Deputy Commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force—arrest CHIBUZO for interfering with the fraud scheme.

“ABBAS specifically told KYARI that CHIBUZO contacted ‘the job’ behind ABBAS’ back to ‘divert the job for himself.’

“ABBAS asked KYARI to have the police administer the ‘serious beating of his life’ and arranged with KYARI to pay to keep CHIBUZO imprisoned for at least a month so that the fraud scheme could be successfully executed, and the money could be obtained.”

Mr Kyari was said to have arrested Chibuzo and held him in custody for about a month as instructed by Hushpuppi.

He sent Chibuzo’s photograph in custody to Hushpuppi, the federal agent said, “and also facilitated payments from ABBAS to the Nigeria Police Force personnel who arrested CHIBUZO.”

This, according to Mr Innocenti, was “to ensure CHIBUZO’s continued arrest, thereby preventing CHIBUZO from notifying the Victim Businessperson of ABBAS’ and JUMA’s fraudulent scheme and preventing CHIBUZO from hijacking the scheme for his own benefit.

The decorated Nigerian cop was also said to have “told ABBAS that he would not allow CHIBUZO’s girlfriend to pay money to get CHIBUZO out of custody as he would have done for a ‘normal arrest’.

After Chibuzo’s arrest, the special agent said, “JUMA and ABBAS convinced the Victim Businessperson to make the payments of $299,983.58 described above.”

“KYARI’s knowing involvement in the scheme allowed ABBAS and JUMA to continue defrauding the Victim Businessperson undetected and receive money obtained from the Victim Businessperson after it was laundered,” the document added.

Charges

The three charges approved by the U.S. grand jury including an allegation that Mr Kyari “together with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, knowingly conspired to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343”.

The grand jury alleged in the second count that they conducted and attempted “to conduct financial transactions, affecting interstate and foreign commerce, knowing that the property involved in the financial transactions represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity, which, in fact, involved the proceeds of specified unlawful activity — namely, wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343”.

They were also said to have aided and abetted one another and knowingly in transferring, possessing, and using, without lawful authority, a means of identification that each defendant knew belonged to another person, during and in relation to a felony violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, as charged in Count 1.

BIG STORY

I Will Be Your Listening President, Tinubu Tells Edo Residents

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Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has assured the people of Edo state that he will be a “listening president” if elected.

According to a statement by Tunde Rahman, head of Tinubu media office, the APC presidential candidate said this on Sunday at a town hall meeting in Edo state.

Tinubu also said under his leadership, Nigeria will pipe gas to Europe and compete with Russia.

He also criticized Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and urged the people of Edo to “take back” their state from PDP government.

“Edo, take your state back. First of all, let us forge unity. Let’s find the way where they say there is no way,” he said.

“We must rescue Edo state. I am ready to work with you. Take lanterns, go from house to house. Don’t get angry; anger does not solve problems. Disappointment is an energizer for me. You disappoint me, I work harder. You betray me, I don’t get angry; I ignore you.

“The reason is because you are not my God and you are not my creator. My mother taught me if you are sad, I will share your sorrow with you, if you are happy I will rejoice with you. If you are poor, I will share the little I have with you.

“You see PDP, they are scattered; they don’t know the road. Atiku does not know how to lie again except falsify lie upon lie. Atiku cannot hold serious job for Nigeria.

“When they were privatising Aluminium Smelter Company at Ikot Abasi and privatising NITEL, I was negotiating Free Trade Zone in China. I negotiated Lekki Deep Seaport in Singapore and it is the deepest sea port now in West Africa. Edo people are extremely smart. You can do the job.

“Count on me at the federal level. I will be your listening president. Vote for me. Prosperity is here. When you put down ballot paper in the box, say it is for creating jobs. I will create jobs for you because you are not lazy.”

On the constant criticism of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration, he said the opposition party should be ignored.

“People who can’t give power to Nigeria say they want to come back. In only eight years, APC put the rail back,” he said.

“We are putting refineries back and we will produce for you. They can abuse Buhari from morning till night, he does not hear their abuse. Abuse him, rail he provided, second Niger Bridge he provided, Lagos-Ibadan expressway he provided. Benin-Ore port will be done so that you don’t need to come to Lagos to clear your goods.

“We must now begin to make use of all our nation’s endowments. Greater industrialization is a vital aspect of this. Through the production of more and better goods, we shall improve our standard of living, provide workers with a living wage, and establish businesses that will drive our national economy for generations.

“Our industrial plan shall encourage the establishment of new manufacturing concerns across the country. We see a future in which Nigeria is known as a nation that produces high-quality goods worthy of export to anywhere in the world.”

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New Naira Notes: Reps Committee Rejects CBN’s One Week Extension, Threatens Emefiele’s Arrest

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The House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on the redesign of three naira notes has rejected the 10 days extension granted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 bank notes.

In a statement on Sunday, the Chairman of the Committee and the Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said the green chamber will proceed and sign an arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to appear before the committee.

According to him, the new naira redesign policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming 2023 general elections.

The CBN on October 26, 2022, announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed the January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.

The CBN also pegged its weekly cash withdrawal limits to N500,000 for individuals and N5m for corporate firms.

Many Nigerians have lamented the scarcity of new notes as the January 31 deadline approached while the National Assembly demanded a six-month extension.

However, emerging from a meeting with the President on Sunday, the apex bank chief said Buhari gave permission for the deadline to be extended to February 10.

In its immediate reaction, the House of Representatives committee chaired by Doguwa rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN must comply with sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act.

The lawmaker said, “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution: We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the house, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.

“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law. And the House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor to appear before the adhoc committee.”

Doguwa said under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.

He described the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, insisting that the CBN governor must appear before or stand the risk of being arrested on the strength of legislative writs signed earlier by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila.

He also said the policy is capable of frustrating the forthcoming general elections.
“Security agencies and their operations especially at the states level are generally funded through cash advances and direct table payments of allowances to operatives during elections,” he said.

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BIG STORY

UPDATE: 9 Confirmed Dead As Container Falls Off Truck In Lagos [VIDEO]

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An articulated truck conveying a 20ft container fell on a commercial bus at Ojuelegba, Lagos on Sunday killing nine persons.

Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) said the truck lost control while ascending a bridge.

“Upon arrival at the scene, a truck conveying a 20ft container was found to have landed on top of a commercial bus.

“Investigation revealed that the bus was picking up passengers when the truck lost control and fell over the side of the bridge.

“A total of nine fatalities were recovered, comprising four adult males, three adult females, a girl, and a boy.

“After suspending the container load with the aid of LASEMA’s forklift, an adult woman was extricated alive and taken to the trauma center,’’ he said.

Oke-Osanyintolu said LASEMA’s heavy-duty ambulance and Lagos State Fire Service were on hand for a rescue operation, just as LASTMA and Nigeria Police were on ground to control traffic.

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