Kyari risks dismissal, criminal prosecution over link with Hushpuppi – PSC

The Police Service Commission says it will determine the fate of the Commander of the IGP Intelligence Response and Monitoring Team, Abba Kyari, a deputy commissioner of police, after he was indicted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for alleged involvement in a $1.1m Internet fraud.

The commission also noted that Kyari might face dismissal or demotion, and criminal prosecution if found culpable in the fraud perpetrated by an Instagram influencer and fraudster, Ramon Abass, popularly known as Hushpuppi.

NEWSCASTARS.COM had reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal complaint lodged at the United States District Court in California had listed Hushpuppi and Kyari among six suspects indicted in the international fraud conspiracy.

The other suspects include AbdulRahman  Juma (Abdul); Vincent Kelly Chibuzo (Kelly); Rukayat Motunrayo Fashola (Morayo); and Bolatito Tawakalitu Agbabiaka (Bolamide).

Kyari, who is popularly known as ‘super cop,’ had received rapid promotions and a commendation from the National Assembly for his exploits in crime fighting.

The US Department of Justice in a statement said Hushpuppi admitted during interrogation that he paid bribes to Kyari to have one of his rivals arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a dispute over a $1.1m fraud involving a Qatari businessman.

Following the US court arrest warrant, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, ordered a review of the information on Kyari.

The Commissioner in charge of Media on the board of the Police Service Commission, Mr Austin Braimoh on Friday, said the PSC would not be bound by the IG’s review of the allegations against Kyari, as it would carry out further probe on whatever findings the police authorities made on Kyari.

He told the Punch, “The commission won’t say anything until we get the official report. We are the final decision-maker on his fate as a police officer. Everything concerning his indictment can be investigated and the criminal aspect of it can be sent to the law court but on the official aspect concerning discipline; no other body has power to do anything to him as a police officer, it is only the commission that has such powers.

“So, the commission is awaiting the full report of investigation and his indictment and we will treat it officially; we would apply the law. The law will determine the various punishments that we can award against him. He can be dismissed depending on the gravity of the offence; we can demote him, reduce his rank; we can suspend him.

“Many things are laid out before us pertaining to various offences and after that, the criminal aspect would be referred to the court for prosecution. It depends on how the report is coming; whether it is coming to us directly for us to extricate the criminal aspect and treat it or they want to treat it and refer the official one to us to discipline him.’’

If the police could be trusted to carry out a thorough, unbiased investigation, the commissioner disclosed that the PSC investigation department will subject the findings of the police review to further investigations.

He noted, “We don’t always believe the police should investigate the police (personnel) except through the commission. But the important thing is that whatever thing they decide to do, we are not obliged to accept their investigations. So, our investigation department would still go further to get the facts.

‘’What we know they would do is that a query would be issued based on the complaints against him, he would be asked to defend himself and then, he would face what we call the Force Disciplinary Committee which would interrogate him and the report is passed to the DIG in charge and from there to the IG.

‘’The IG would basically forward the final findings and recommendations to the commission. The commission would now carry on with their own investigation; we have to re-investigate what they have done to ensure that they comply with the rule of law and what is expected.

‘’Our lawyer would look into it, he would check the facts and if we feel there is negligence and that some things are not done, we would do a thorough job and eventually, we would have recommendations from the standing committee to the plenary for a final decision and our decision is final on his career.’’

If Kyari should be suspended pending the investigation’s outcome, Braimoh said this was the normal thing to do but said the US court had not criminalised the IRT commander, noting that Kyari would have to step aside once the allegations against him were established.

The commissioner added, “The way we look at it is that the court has given an order that he should be arrested, the court has not criminalised him yet; he has not been convicted.

‘’Since, there is little hope, or what you call beyond reasonable doubt, he may be found clean. The issue of stepping aside in Nigeria may be different.  The facts of the allegations would be made available to the force, and I’m sure the needful would be done. ‘’

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