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Obi Cubana: CBN policy on the consequences of spraying money

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For much of last week, culminating in the weekend, the internet was awash with news and pictures from the burial ceremony of the septuagenarian mother of popular Nigerian businessman and socialite, Obi Iyiegbu, a.k.a Obi Cubana.

The burial, which was attended by hordes of Nigerian celebrities from the business and entertainment space lit up the small, otherwise quiet town of Oba in Anambra state in what can only be described as a carnival that lasted for several days.

Obi Cubana and his rich friends put up a formidable jamboree, drawing crowds of people with no nose masks and no apparent care for either the Covid-19 pandemic or the government’s health protocols put in place to check the spread of the virus.

The boisterous celebration which saw notable artists like D’banj and Davido in performance will also be remembered for the wads of naira notes lavishly thrown around at the event. Videos abound online of guests wantonly spraying N200, N500 and N1000 notes at the chief mourner.

Recall that in 2018, the CBN issued a warning to Nigerians against spraying money at parties, insisting that those who flout this warning were at risk of a six-month jail term or a fine of N50,000. A statement by CBN’s spokesperson, Isaac Okorafor read:

“If a celebrant is dancing and you spray him/her, you may go to jail from the party venue, because the law enforcement agents will be there, waiting to arrest you.

The law enforcement agencies must catch offenders and take them to court. Our (CBN) collaboration with the police will intensify as we move to implement the mobile court for offenders.”

The spokesman added that the CBN had concluded the decision to establish mobile courts to prosecute those abusing the naira notes, noting that security agencies particularly the police operatives and officials of the Ministry of Justice would be involved in monitoring the use of the naira at event venues to ensure that the CBN order is enforced nationwide.

In June this year, the CBN reiterated this warning during a sensitization program in Abeokuta, where an Assistant Director at the Currency Operations Department, Aladeen Badajo stated:

“Abuse of the currency attracts a penalty of not less than six months or a fine of not less than N50,000 or both.”

Rather interesting, is the fact that the burial ceremony of the mother of the Cubana Group boss was replete with the police officers and other security operatives, including a well-known Deputy Commissioner of Police and leader of the Inspector-General of Police’s Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari, who stated that he attended the burial to honour a good friend.

The heavy police presence notwithstanding, nothing has been said of a possible arrest of guests, either for flouting COVID-19 directives or for blatantly disregarding the CBN’s jail threats for abuse of the naira.

This is not the first, second, third or even tenth time that these policies are being openly disregarded with no apparent consequences from regulatory authorities. Politicians and members of the bourgeois class do it all the time with their high society weddings and funerals. Are Nigerian elites above the law? Better still, if these policies are not to be backed by enforcement, is there really any point in making them in the first instance?

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IGP recommends suspension of DCP Abba Kyari over indictment in Hushpuppi’s fraud case

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The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba has recommended the immediate suspension of DCP Abba Kyari.

Kyari’s suspension, which was disclosed in a statement signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba, follows the alleged involvement of the Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT), with a fraud suspect, Ramon Abbas popularly known in social circles as Hushpuppi.

According to the statement, the IGP noted that the recommendation for suspension which is without prejudice to the constitutional presumption of innocence in favour of the officer, is in line with the internal disciplinary processes of the Force.

“The IGP further noted that the suspension is also expected to create an enabling environment for the NPF Special Investigation Panel to carry out its investigations into the weighty allegations against DCP Abba Kyari without interference,” the statement said.

The IGP further directed the constitution of a 4-man Special Investigation Panel to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government and to offer recommendations for further actions on the matter.

“The Special Investigation Panel (SIP), comprising four (4) Senior Police Officers, is headed by DIG Joseph Egbunike, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID).

“The SIP, inter alia, is to undertake a detailed review of all the allegations against DCP Abba Kyari by the US Government as contained in relevant documents that have been availed the NPF by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). 

“The SIP is also to obtain detailed representation of DCP Abba Kyari to all the allegations levelled against him, conduct further investigations as it deems fit, and submit recommendations to guide further actions by the Force Leadership on the matter.”

In case you missed it

  • U.S Court documents revealed that Hushpuppi arranged to have a former business partner, Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, arrested by Abba Kyari after they scammed a Qatari businessman off $1 million.
  • Abba Kyari reacted to the allegation claiming that Hushpuppi’s associate was arrested after his office was called about a potential case of threat to life and that “nobody demanded for a kobo from Abbas Hushpuppi.”
  • See full text of the conversation between the duo as contained in the records of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.
  • Nigeria’s largest opposition party, the People Democratic Party (PDP) had earlier called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Inspector of General of Police to order the investigation and possible extradition of DCP Abba Kyari to the United States for his alleged involvement Hushpuppi.
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Opposition party demands extradition of DCP Abba Kyari over alleged involvement with Hushpuppi

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Nigeria’s largest opposition party, the People Democratic Party (PDP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Inspector of General of Police to order the investigation and possible extradition of DCP Abba Kyari to the United States for his alleged involvement with fraud suspect, Abbas Ramon, popularly known as Hushpuppi.

This was disclosed in a statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Thursday, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.

What the party is saying

Ologbondiyan said that Kyari’s alleged involvement with a known fraudster compromises his integrity as the head of Nigeria’s Intelligence Response Unit.

His statement read in part:

“Our party demands that the APC administration should not sweep this matter under the carpet given the manifest rapport between Kyari and some top APC leaders.

We urge President Muhammadu Buhari not to ease out this case of corruption but should immediately restore the integrity and image of our nation by allowing for a forensic investigation on the suspect.

Moreover, if this Kyari matter is not well handled, it will be a permanent stain on the reputation of our police, security system and our nation at large.

The PDP, therefore, asks President Buhari to direct the Inspector General of Police to take in Abba Kyari for questioning and if found culpable, he should be handed over to the FBI.”

What you should know

  • Themoneymetrics reported earlier that U.S Court documents revealed that popular fraudster, Hushpuppi arranged to have a former business partner, Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, arrested by popular Police Commissioner, Abba Kyari after they scammed a Qatari businessman of $1 million.
  • Meanwhile, Abba Kyari reacted to the allegation contained in a US court affidavit claiming that Hushpuppi’s associate was arrested after his office was called about a potential case of threat to life.
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Courts documents claim Hushpuppi paid Police Commissioner, Abba Kyari to arrest rival

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U.S Court documents revealed that popular fraudster Hushpuppi arranged to have a former business partner, Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, arrested by popular Police Commissioner, Abba Kyari after they scammed a Qatari businessman off $1 million.

This was disclosed in a report by the United States Department of Justice on Wednesday evening.

“The defendants allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretense going after the victim was tipped off,” said Acting United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison said.

The report said Hushpuppi conspired with an Abdulrahman Imraan Juma, a.k.a. “Abdul,” 28, of Kenya, and Kelly Chibuzo Vincent, 40, of Nigeria, to defraud the Qatari businessperson by claiming to be consultants and bankers who could facilitate a loan to finance the construction of a planned school.

It added that $230,000 of the stolen funds allegedly were used to purchase a Richard Mille RM11-03 watch, which was hand-delivered to Abbas in Dubai and subsequently appeared in Hushpuppi’s social media posts.

“Other illicit proceeds from the scheme were allegedly converted into cashier’s checks, including $50,000 in checks that were used by Abbas and a co-conspirator to fraudulently acquire a St. Christopher and Nevis citizenship, as well as a passport for Abbas obtained by creating a false marriage certificate and then bribing a government official in St. Kitts.

“Court documents outline a dispute among members of the conspiracy, which allegedly prompted Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma were engaged in fraud. After this contact, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Abba Alhaji Kyari, 46, of Nigeria,” the court document stated.

The affidavit stated that PC Abba Kyari allegedly arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest, and then sent Abbas photographs of Vincent after his arrest, adding that “Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.”

PC Abba Kyari reacts to allegation

Abba Kyari has reacted to the allegation contained in a US court affidavit claiming that Hushpuppi’s associate was arrested after his office was called about a potential case of threat to life.

Mr Kyari took to his verified Facebook page to deny the allegation stating:

Friends: Abbas who we later came to know as Hushpuppi called our office about 2years ago that somebody in Nigeria Seriously threatened to kill his Family here in Nigeria and he sent the person’s Phone number and pleaded we take action before the Person attacks his family.

We traced and arrested the Suspect and after investigations we discovered there wasn’t an actual threat to anyone’s life And they are long time friends who have money issues between them hence we released the Suspect on bail to go and he was not taken to any jail.

Nobody demanded for a kobo from Abbas Hushpuppi. Our focus was to Save people’s lives that were purported to have been threatened.

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