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UPDATE - Court to provide judgment on Abba Kyari extradition suit on August 29
Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division has adjourned the extradition case of
suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari till August 29.
The judge fixed the date on Friday after listening to arguments and submissions from both parties in the suit.
While Kyari’s counsel prayed the court to refuse the extradition request on the grounds that he committed no offence to warrant extraditing him to the U.S., the FG counsel asked the court to discountenance Kyari’s arguments.
On March 2, the Federal Government had filed the suit through the Office of the AGF marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/249/2022. The suit was titled: “Application for the Extradition of Abba Kyari to the U.S.,”
While Mr Kyari is the respondent in the suit, the AGF is the applicant.
The FG commenced the processes for the extradition of Mr Kyari over the $1.1 million fraud linked to Hushpupi following a request last year, from the diplomatic representative of the United States embassy for the extradition of Kyari to answer for the alleged fraud.
In an affidavit filed in support of the extradition application, the AGF stated that the request for the surrender of Kyari 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.
On April 29, 2021, a three-count charge was filed against Mr Kyari before the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, USA.
Count one bordered on conspiracy to commit fraud, count two bordered on conspiracy to commit money laundering and count three bordered on aggravated identity theft, and aiding and abetting offence.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in July 2021, indicted Mr Kyari for the $1.1 million fraud linked to Hushpuppi.
On June 2, the court granted Mr Kyari permission to file more evidence to establish his innocence in the charges against him.
Though the Federal Government counsel had objected, Justice Ekwo rejected the objection and granted permission to Mr Kyari to adduce further documentary exhibits to his own defense.
The judge noted that the court would determine the probate value to be attached to the additional evidence.
What happened in court
Nureni Jimoh (SAN), Kyari’s lawyer told the court that about a year ago, he had written two letters to the AGF and IGP informing them about the channel of communication with Hushpupi.
He tendered both letters in court as evidence. He noted that the purpose of opening a line of communication with Hushpupi was to lure him back to Nigeria where he and his team will ambush him on a sting operation
He argued that the wire fraud charge brought against him by the U.S is not known as an offence under Extradition Act and therefore, should not be allowed by the court to be used to extradite him.
In response, Mr Pius Akuta, the AGF’s lawyer who urged the court to discountenance Kyari’s arguments said the AGF has complied with all necessary requirements for an extradition process.
He, therefore, prayed the court to allow the application and order Kyari to be surrendered as requested by the U.S.
Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter for August 29, to give judgment on the extradition suit.
What you should know
In August 2021, the Nigerian Police Force suspended DCP Abba Kyari after he was indicted by the FBI on the $1.1million fraud linked to Hushpuppi.
On Feb 14, 2022, Mr Kyari was arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
He was arraigned but pleaded not guilty to the charges proffered against him by the NDLEA.