Reprieve came for the detained Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, as a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday dismissed the Federal Government’s application seeking to extradite him to the United States of America to face trial over his alleged involvement in the millions of dollars wire fraud by internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, a k.a Hushpuppi.
Persecondnews recalls that Kyari was indicted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in the Hushpuppi’s case.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo on Monday, the court held that the extradition application the government filed through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) was “incompetent and bereft of merit”.
Ekwo held that Malami, being the Chief Law Officer of the country, ought to be aware that the Extradition Act, forbids the surrendering of a defendant that is already facing trial before a competent court in the country.
The court wondered why the AGF approached the court with the extradition application when he had already issued a FIAT to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) to prosecute Kyari on drug-related charges.
“The AGF could not say that he was not aware of the pending proceeding against the defendant which was entered against him by the NDLEA,” Ekwo ruled.
He insisted that Kyari, having been docked before a court of competent jurisdiction in the country, “shall not be surrendered until such case has been discharged either by his conviction or acquittal”.
The court held that the extradition request was incompetent and deserved to be dismissed.
On June 3, 2022, the court had reserved the case for judgment after the addresses of counsel to the government, Mr Pius Akutah, and Kyari’s, Mr Nureni Jimoh (SAN).
Kyari had challenged the legal competence of the extradition request against him.
Kyari, who is currently in prison custody for drug related charges, told the court that contrary to the allegation against him, he had some months before Hushpuppi was arrested, sent a letter to both the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police, notifying them that he had opened a channel of communication with the suspected internet fraudster in furtherance of an ongoing investigation.
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 in 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.
Hushpuppi had earlier pleaded guilty to the alleged $1.1million fraud charge against him.
Meanwhile, the United States Attorney’s Office for Central District of California, Los Angeles, has fixed September 21, 2022 sentence date for Hushpuppi.
The court’s Director of Media Relations, Thom Mrozek, announced this last week.