The Federal High Court, Abuja, has dismissed a suit instituted by the Federal Government seeking to extradite the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari, to the United States of America.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his judgment yesterday, held that the extradition request filed by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on behalf of the federal government lacked merit and was liable to dismissal.
The federal government filed the extradition charges against Kyari to pave the way for his extradition to America, to answer fraud allegations.
Justice Ekwo, however, held that the federal government had no basis to file the extradition request, having put Kyari on trial in Nigeria, in relation to the allegations against him in America.
Ekwo noted that the AGF, as the chief law officer of the country, could not pretend to be unaware of the pending drug case against Kyari by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The judge said it was clear that having put Kyari on trial in Nigeria before a court of competent jurisdiction, he (Kyari), “shall not be surrendered to the USA, until such case has been discharged either by his conviction or acquittal.”
He held that by his position as the AGF, Malami ought to know that the Extradition Act, under which the request was rooted, forbade the surrendering of a defendant that is already standing trial in his country of origin before a competent court.
Ekwo wondered why the AGF initiated the proceedings in the first place, after issuing a fiat to the NDLEA to prosecute Kyari on drug related charges. Consequently, the court held that the extradition request was incompetent and deserved to be dismissed.
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. The AGF, Abubakar Malami, filed an extradition application at the Federal High Court in Abuja, following a request by the Diplomatic Representative of the U.S. Embassy in Abuja.
The request from the U.S. authorities, according to Mr Malami, is “for the surrender of Abba Alhaji Kyari, who is a subject in a superseding three counts indictment.”
The U.S. government, in July 2021, named Kyari among co-conspirators of Ramon Abass, (aka Hushpuppi), an Instagram celebrity, in a multi-million dollars money laundering fraud. On his part, Hushpuppi had pleaded guilty to the charges in a separate case at the Central District Court of Central District of California.
Mr Kyari is named among five of Hushpuppi’s conspirators in a $1.1 million fraud charge approved by a U.S. grand jury.
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