Justice Ekwo: Abba Kyari’s extradition request ‘incompetent and bereft of merit’

Justice Ekwo: Abba Kyari’s extradition request ‘incompetent and bereft of merit’
The Federal Government requested that the detained Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP, Abba Kyari, be extradited to the USA so that he could stand trial for his alleged association with a well-known internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, better known by his online persona Hushpuppi. The Federal High Court in Abuja dismissed the request on Monday.

The extradition request made by the FG through the office of Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, was deemed "incompetent and destitute of merit" by the court in a ruling written by Justice Inyang Ekwo.

As the nation's chief legal officer, Justice Ekwo ruled that the AGF, Malami, SAN, should be informed that the Extradition Act banned the surrendering of a prisoner who is already being tried by a local court.

The court questioned why the AGF had requested extradition since he had also given the National Drug Law Enforcement, or NDLEA, a FIAT to bring charges against DCP Kyari relating to drugs.

“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”, Justice Ekwo added.

He said the law was clear 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”.

Consequently, the court held that the extradition request was incompetent and deserved to be dismissed.

It will be recalled that the court had on June 3, reserved the matter for judgement, after it heard from FG’s lawyer, Mr. Pius Akutah, and that of the embattled DCP, Mr. Nureni Jimoh, SAN.

While FG maintained that it had met all condition precedents for the suspended DCP to be sent to the US to answer to a criminal charge that is pending against him, on the other hand, Kyari, 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, IGP, 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, even as the US Attorney’s Office for Central District of California, Los Angeles, revealed that he will be sentenced on September 21.
Chima Ugo is a patriotic Nigerian, a journalist, blogger and singer who is so much interested in the internet, journalism, and blogging and have been for half a decade.