How Nigeria’s most decorated cop willingly ran errands for Nigeria’s most influential cyber criminal

July 30, 2021
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DCP Abba Kyari is a man of many travails, as he alluded in his response to the news of the arrest warrant a US court issued on him recently. “For those who are celebrating that this is an indictment on us, they will be disappointed once again,” he said in a Facebook post.

Kyari’s current ordeal—the criminal conspiracy in cyber-fraud that rocked at least five countries—came with a difference. The evidence of his probable involvement isn’t what a mere dismissal on social media can wish away.

Facts, figures, phone numbers, chats, voice conversations abound in the relationship tree and timelines FBI Special Agent Andrew J. Innocenti dug up with while investigating Kyari and Ramon Abbas, the lynchpin of the criminal ring, facing up to 20 years in American prison.

It turns out Kyari, history’s most decorated police officer in Nigeria, according to the media, knowingly tagged along with Abbas, aka Huspuppi, to sustain a ‘job’ and keep a Qatari victim from realizing he was dumping over $1 million in the lap of a cyber-fraud ring.

In a document the National Daily obtained from the website of US Justice Ministry, this is how Innocenti stacks it:

KYARI, a Deputy Commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force, arranged the arrest of CHIBUZO at the request of ABBAS to prevent CHIBUZO from interfering in the scheme defrauding the Victim Businessperson. KYARI had CHIBUZO held in custody for a month and also facilitated payments from ABBAS to the Nigeria Police Force personnel who arrested CHIBUZO, in order to ensure CHIBUZO’s continued arrest, thereby preventing CHIBUZO from notifying the Victim Businessperson of ABBAS’ and JUMA’s fraudulent scheme and preventing CHIBUZO from hijacking the scheme for his own benefit.

It was not like the supercop was in the dark. Or that he had no idea Hushpuppi was an international con man living beyond any honest means of livelihood in the UAE.

Kyari, the head of Nigeria’s IGP Intelligence Response Team, knew.

And Innocenti insists:

KYARI’s knowing involvement in the scheme allowed ABBAS and JUMA to continue defrauding the Victim Businessperson undetected and receive money obtained from the Victim Businessperson after it was laundered.

The supercop wasn’t stiffing people online like Hushpuppi and his gang do. The report only alleged Kyari ‘allowed’ his criminal hotshot of a bro to have a home run in the Qatari case.

Nothing new.

In Nigeria, influence matters—at a premium— for the police.

Kyari’s team allow people of Hushpuppi status to use them to get rid of human obstacles on their way. The law enforcers will just turn robocops—so long as the service expense doesn’t fail.

Kyari allowed this use. He even sustained it—and the gratification—in a mutually beneficial manner.

The FBI report reveals that much in the timelines of this cop-and-robber game:

Excerpts

Sept 2019: May I meet you?

Identification of KYARI 23. KYARI communicated with ABBAS primarily using the phone numbers +2349099999131 and +2348120000043—both of which ABBAS had saved with contact names including “ABBA KYARI,” as discussed below.

KYARI’s messages to ABBAS contained numerous photographs of himself, some of which also included his name. For example, using the phone number +2349099999131—which ABBAS had saved as “ABBA KYARI”—KYARI sent ABBAS [his photograph] on September 8, 2019:

Based on messages I reviewed, ABBAS appears to have first interacted with KYARI in September 2019, when KYARI traveled to the U.A.E. The conversation indicated that ABBAS sent a car and driver to drive KYARI during that trip.

Soon thereafter, KYARI sent ABBAS a video slideshow which showed some personal photographs of KYARI, some of which appeared to have been taken in the U.A.E.

Later in September, after KYARI sent ABBAS an article that discussed him arresting alleged kidnappers, ABBAS wrote, in part, to KYARI, “Am really happy to be ur boy,” and later, “I promise to be a good boy to u sir.”

First assignment

CHIBUZO [ ring member based in Nigeria] communicated with ABBAS on multiple messaging platforms using the Nigerian phone number +2348078425723, which ABBAS had saved with the name “Kelly Ogudu New.”

As detailed later in this affidavit (see Section III.B.4), at one point during the scheme to defraud the Qatari Victim Company, CHIBUZO contacted the Victim Businessperson in an attempt to redirect proceeds of fraud to himself.

In retaliation, ABBAS employed the assistance of KYARI to have him imprisoned.

The conversation between ABBAS and KYARI about CHIBUZO contained identifying information for CHIBUZO, as well as multiple photographs of him. a.

January 13: The game criminals play

For example, on January 13, 2020, after becoming frustrated with “Kelly Ogudu New,” ABBAS asked him through a messaging platform for a good contact number for him. “Kelly Ogudu New” responded to ABBAS’ request and provided the telephone number +2348078425723. ABBAS then sent this number, and another phone number, to KYARI.

January 20: Drop  a nickel

Then, on January 20, 2020, KYARI sent ABBAS detailed information relating to CHIBUZO, including CHIBUZO’s full name (VINCENT KELLY CHIBUZO), age at the time (37), place of birth, and address in Abuja. Additionally, KYARI sent the following photograph of CHIBUZO and wrote, “We have arrested the guy. He is in my Cell now.”

ABBAS confirmed CHIBUZO’s identity, stating “Yes yes that is him sir.”

Separately, in order to substantiate the claim that CHIBUZO stole money from him, ABBAS provided KYARI screenshots of conversations that contained the phone number 3054405586, as evidence that CHIBUZO attempted to redirect proceeds of the fraud to himself. This number was used by “Kelly Ogudu New” to pass a fake bank website address to ABBAS, as later described in paragraph 130.

Moreover, as described in paragraph 148, KYARI sent ABBAS other photographs of CHIBUZO, when discussing how long he had been holding CHIBUZO in custody.

As discussed in paragraph 120, JUMA and ABBAS had a falling out with CHIBUZO after CHIBUZO felt that he was being underpaid (or had not been paid) for work on the fake Wells Fargo website, and then contacted the Victim Businessperson directly. ABBAS then arranged to have KYARI arrest and imprison CHIBUZO in Nigeria for attempting to redirect fraudulent proceeds intended for ABBAS and JUMA to himself, to keep CHIBUZO from interfering with the scheme.

Jan 13, 2020:

On January 13, 2020, the Victim Businessperson contacted JUMA about a person who had contacted the Victim Businessperson about the loan, stating “This number is calling me but I didn’t answer.” The Victim Businessperson also provided JUMA a screenshot of and forwarded additional conversations between the Victim Businessperson and CHIBUZO, who was using the U.S. phone number 3054405586. That phone number was the same phone number used by CHIBUZO to send ABBAS information about the fake Wells Fargo website described earlier.

In the messages, CHIBUZO sent the Victim Businessperson’s passport, and claimed to be “trying to help” the Victim Businessperson. JUMA forwarded these messages from the Victim Businessperson to ABBAS, who responded, “I will deal with him.”

At approximately the same time, ABBAS asked CHIBUZO for a phone number on which to call him. Two minutes later, ABBAS sent the phone number on which he contacted CHIBUZO (which CHIBUZO had previously also sent to ABBAS) to KYARI without providing any additional context. Just before forwarding the phone number to KYARI, ABBAS placed a nearly five-minute call to KYARI, using the phone number described in paragraph 136.

A short time later, ABBAS told JUMA, “setting him up already. He will learn.” JUMA replied, “He almost messed it up bro,” to which ABBAS responded “They are working on it already.”

Approximately an hour later, CHIBUZO responded to ABBAS’ message requesting his phone number by providing another phone number. ABBAS also sent this number to KYARI without providing any additional context in the message.

January 15, 2020: Reminder

On January 15, 2020, this time using WhatsApp, ABBAS sent an audio recording to KYARI, stating, essentially, that he wanted to remind KYARI about what they discussed earlier.

January 16, 2020: Done deal

On January 16, 2020, ABBAS sent the following threats to CHIBUZO: I dey always tell people to think well before they offend me and make them make sure they fit stand the consequences when the time comes. I won’t say more than that but very soon, very very soon, the wrath of my hands shall find you and when it does, it will damage you forever At this point I no get discussion with you, u have committed a crime that won’t be forgiven, that is punishable and you shall receive die punishment in due time I swear with my life you will regret messing with me, you will even wish you died before my hands will touch you. 136.

Also on January 16, 2020, ABBAS sent a message to KYARI on WhatsApp, and then placed five calls to another phone number (+2348060733588) that was listed as “ABBA KYARI.” Call records show that the last three of the calls were answered and that one of the calls lasted more than two minutes. Shortly after that, ABBAS received a message from KYARI, confirming “We would pick him today or tomorrow.” ABBAS wrote, “I will take care of the team also after they pick him up.” KYARI confirmed “Yes ooo.”

Based on the conversation described in paragraphs 143 to 145, ABBAS planned to pay the Nigeria Police Force officers who arrested CHIBUZO for that service. This was not the only time that ABBAS arranged payments with KYARI.

May 20, 2020:  Payday

On May 20, 2020, ABBAS sent KYARI transaction receipts for two transactions from accounts at Nigerian banks (GTBank and Zenith Bank) of a person ABBAS knew in the U.A.E.—a person also arrested with ABBAS in ABBAS’ apartment in the U.A.E. by Dubai Police on June 9, 2020—to the Nigerian bank accounts of another person in Nigeria. The amounts on the transaction receipts totaled 8 million Nigerian Naira, which was approximately $20,600 based on publicly available exchange rate information.

Flashback

Attempting to reason with ABBAS, on January 18, 2020, CHIBUZO recounted for ABBAS all the assistance he had provided in the scheme to victimize the Victim Businessperson, including creating the “power of attorney” document (see paragraphs 67–68), devising a story to tell the Victim Businessperson (see paragraph 117), and facilitating the creation of the “telephone banking” number (see paragraphs 109–116) and fake Wells Fargo website (see paragraph 117).

As discussed in paragraph 32.b, on January 20, 2020, KYARI sent to ABBAS biographical, identifying information for CHIBUZO, along with a photograph of him. In a conversation immediately following, ABBAS confirmed “that is him sir.” KYARI stated, “We have arrested the guy . . . He is in my Cell. This is his picture after we arrested him today.” (The below image is a cropped version of the photograph that KYARI sent to ABBAS.).

KYARI sent the biographical information about, and photograph of, CHIBUZO to ABBAS using two different WhatsApp numbers—the second of which KYARI said was his “private number.” From that point on, KYARI and ABBAS primarily discussed the arrest and detention of KYARI through WhatsApp on this “private number.”

After receiving the photograph of CHIBUZO, ABBAS stated, “I want him to go through serious beating of his life.” KYARI responded, “Hahahaha,” and ABBAS replied, “Seriously sir.”

KYARI then asked for details about what CHIBUZO did “on audio,” which KYARI said was “So that we will know what to do.” In response to KYARI’s question about what CHIBUZO had done to ABBAS, ABBAS sent KYARI an audio message, which is transcribed here, describing how CHIBUZO had tried to steal away a fraud victim.

“What he did is, I have one job. The job want to pay me 500, umm, 75,000 dollars [i.e., $575,000]. He went to message the job behind me because I told him to help me make one document for me to give the job. Then he went—he has a—I gave him the details. Then he went to message the job behind my back and try to divert the money and in this process he tell the job because of the documents he gave me that I gave the job, he tell the job, “These document they sent to you before. These people are fake. This money—is me who can help you to get it. Come to me le—bring this money you want to pay these people to me. I’m the only one who can help you,” and all these things to divert the job for himself. 142. After listening to the message, KYARI wrote, “Ok I understand. But he has not succeeded.”

ABBAS claimed CHIBUZO had taken some money, and provided KYARI with two screenshots, one of which contained the phone number 3054405586 (the phone number CHIBUZO used to contact the Victim Businessperson). The screenshots showed a person contacting the Victim Businessperson and stating that he was providing information to try to “help[]” the Victim Businessperson. KYARI responded, “Yeah I understand.”

KYARI did not request other information or evidence relating to CHIBUZO’s role in the scheme, ask questions about the nature of the transaction, or ask about why CHIBUZO told the Victim Businessperson that ABBAS was “fake.”

ABBAS then told KYARI, “Now the [Victim Businessperson] was skeptic to pay me the money cos he keep attacking the [Victim Businessperson] from his end. Now I can handle the [Victim Businessperson] correctly.”

More money to induce promptness. OK, bro!

ABBAS further told KYARI that he wanted to pay money to send CHIBUZO to jail for a long time, stating “Please sir I want to spend money to send this boy to jail, let him go for a very long time.”

KYARI responded, “Ok bro. I understand . I will discuss with my team who arrested him . . . And handling the case. We will do something about it.”

ABBAS responded, “Let me know how I can send money to the team sir[.] let them deal with him like armed robber.”

KYARI responded, “OK I will send their account details to u.”

ABBAS further wrote, “He betray me and try to take food out my mouth, this is great punishable sin,” and KYARI responded, “Yeah bro.” ABBAS then continued, “I want him to suffer for many years.”

KYARI responded, “Hahahaha. Hahahaha.”

Approximately six minutes later, KYARI provided the account information for a bank account at a Nigerian bank, Zenith Bank, in the name of a person other than KYARI himself.

ABBAS responded “Ok sir, tomorrow by noon,” indicating that he would make the payment to KYARI’s team by the next day.

On the same day, ABBAS sent JUMA the photograph of CHIBUZO in custody, which KYARI had sent.

Feb 2020:  Good baddie. Release him.  OK, bro!

Approximately a month later, on February 19, 2020, KYARI sent a message to ABBAS, saying, “Hello hush with [sic] need to talk about the subject under detention with me.” ABBAS asked “Should I call u on this number sir?” to which KYARI replied “Yes call me.”

The following day, KYARI sent ABBAS multiple photographs of CHIBUZO to ABBAS, including close-up photographs showing a rash or skin disease on CHIBUZO’s torso and arms.

ABBAS responded, “I don pity am, make them leave am from Tuesday.”

KYARI wrote, “Ok bro, they just brought him from hospital. The fever and the rashes is giving him serious Wahala. He got the disease from other suspects in the cell.”

ABBAS responded, “I see am, I no too pity am. That’s what people like him deserve but I go forgive am for God sake.”

Based on the date of the messages and later discussion described in paragraph 150, ABBAS was—on Thursday, February 20, 2020— requesting that KYARI not to release CHIBUZO until Tuesday, February 25, 2020.

ABBAS then told KYARI that CHIBUZO’s girlfriend messaged him, trying to raise one million Naira to secure CHIBUZO’s release, and said ABBAS promised to contribute 100,000 Naira.

KYARI stated “They were thinking it’s normal arrest that is why they think money can remove him . . . No money can remove him here. Hahahaha.” ABBAS added, “But it’s better for them to think that way, I like it like that,” and KYARI responded, “Yeah.”

ABBAS then said, “No problem sir from Tuesday he can go,” apparently giving KYARI his blessing to release CHIBUZO from custody.

KYARI responded, “Ok bro’ .We will also keep his phone and other gadgets for some weeks.”

ABBAS responded, “Yes those ones they should not give him again, those ones are gone . . . Make he no see those ones again for life,” instructing KYARI not to return CHIBUZO’s electronic devices.

KYARI responded, “Yes he will not see it. Again,” indicating that he would accede to ABBAS’ request.

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