The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, dismissed an application filed by the Federal Government seeking to extradite the suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police DCP, Abba Kyari to the United States of America (USA).
The Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, acting on behalf of the FG had filed the extradition charges against Kyari to pave the way for his extradition to the USA to face trial over his alleged involvement with a notorious internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
Hushpuppi had in the USA implicated Kyari in a $1.1million wire fraud prompting the American government to request the extradition of Kyari to explain his own side of the story.
The AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN) filed the extradition charges under the Extradition Act and it is marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/249/2022.
In April 2021, a jury in America filed an indictment against Kyari with the approval of the US District Court and demanded that Kyari should stand trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and identity theft.
Consequently, the American embassy requested Kyari’s extradition saying, “on April 29, 2021, based on the indictment filed by the Grand Jury and with the approval of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, a Deputy Clerk of the court issued a warrant of arrest for Kyari.
“Kyari is the subject of an indictment in case number 2:21-cr-00203 (also referred to as 2:21-mj-00760 and 2:21-cr-00203-rgk), filed April 29, 2021, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.”
Malami had while filing the charge said 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 in the interest of justice.
The court, in a judgement that was delivered by Justice Inyang Ekwo, held that the extradition application FG 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”.
Justice Ekwo held that the AGF, Malami, SAN, which is the Chief Law Officer of the country, ought to be aware that the Extradition Act, forbade 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 was equally the one that issued FIAT to the National Drug Law Enforcement, NDLEA, to prosecute DCP 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”, 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 the 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.