Police in Nigeria say they have ordered an investigation after a social media celebrity standing trial in the US alleged that a senior officer was 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 according to US court documents.
Nigeria’s police said late on Thursday they had “ordered an internal review” after receiving an indictment from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) “against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari”.
Spokesman Frank Mba said in the statement that the Nigerian police was committed “to the pursuit of justice”.
Hushpuppi’s crimes cost his victims almost $24 million (20 million euros) in total, the FBI said in a statement Wednesday.
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 (925,000 euros) 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.
“Nobody demanded any money from Abbas Hushpuppi and nobody collected any money from him,” Kyari wrote on his Facebook page.