A senior police officer in Nigeria has been suspended after a social media celebrity standing trial in the US accused him of being complicit in fraud.
Deputy Police Commissioner Abba Kyari was implicated by Nigerian influencer Ramos Abbas, known as Hushpuppi, who pleaded guilty to money laundering and other crimes, prompting the police to launch an investigation.
The Nigeria police service commission said Kyari’s suspension on Saturday “would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation in respect of his indictment by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States.”
The commission also directed the head of the force “to furnish it with information on further development on the matter for necessary further action.”
The police said they were committed “to the pursuit of justice” in the matter.
The FBI said on Wednesday that Hushpuppi’s crimes cost his victims almost $24 million in total.
The 37-year-old, known for showing off a lavish lifestyle on social media, was part of “an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a businessperson attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar,” the FBI said.
The statement added that Abbas pleaded guilty to his part in the school financing scam “as well as several other cyber and business email compromise schemes”.
According to the FBI, citing court documents, Abbas confessed to paying Kyari a bribe for the arrest of a former associate, Kelly Chibuzo Vincent.
“Kyari is a highly decorated deputy commissioner of the Nigeria Police Force who is alleged to have arranged for Vincent to be arrested and jailed at Abbas’ behest,” the FBI wrote, citing an affidavit.
“Kyari also allegedly sent Abbas bank account details for an account into which Abbas could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.”
Kyari, who is celebrated for exposing several high-profile crimes in Nigeria, has denied the allegations against him.