A police legal counsel, Nosa Uhumwangho, recently indicted the embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, who he alleged ordered the immediate diversion of all cash and assets seized from slain kidnap lord, Collins ‘E-Money’ Ezenwa, into a private custody in 2018.
Peoples Gazette reported that based on available police internal memo and testimonies, the disgraced super cop faces another daunting challenge to clear his name.
Uhumwangho made the revelation at the Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Committee of Nigerian Bar Association on Wednesday, even as controversies have continued to trail how the police managed Ezenwa’s assets since he was killed in 2018.
Reports said that Gift, wife of the late kidnapper, had accused Kyari and his team of attempting to take over her late husband’s businesses and property as well as withdrawing money from his accounts into their private pockets.
Ezenwa, a former police corporal was killed on January 27, 2018, along Enugu-Owerri Expressway, while he journeyed with two of his cousins who were also alleged to be kidnappers.
The late kidnapper joined the police in 2009 and resigned on N47, 000 salary in November 2017.
WuzupNigeria reported how the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, recommended the suspension of Kyari, who was indicted by the United States authorities over his alleged romance with a notorious fraudster, Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
Recall that Kyari had in 2019 denied any wrongdoing after Nigeria Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International in separate petitions accused his Intelligence Response Team of illegally depleting the asset of the kidnap kingpin.
But Uhumwangho, the IRT legal officer, in a 131-paragraph affidavit submitted to the NBA-LPDC on June 30 this year declared that he diverted N3,075,300 generated from Mr Ezenwa’s De-Ingrid Hotel and another property at Edingurgh, Enugu into his private account on the orders of Mr Kyari.
He further disclosed that the order to divert the said funds into his personal Zenith Bank account was for “reasons best known” to Mr Kyari.
According to the police prosecutor, Kyari ordered a notorious cultist, Tochukwu Okeke, to obtain rents from Mr Ezenwa’s properties on his behalf.
Okeke is currently detained at the 82 Division of the Nigerian army over alleged ties with IPOB gunmen in the southeast.
The lawyer’s testimony followed a petition by a lawyer and human rights activist, Justice Ijeoma, who accused him of “conduct unbecoming of a legal practitioner”.
Ijeoma in his petition to the NBA-LDPC also accused Uhumwangho of conniving with other officers to illegally convert Mr Ezenwa’s properties.
Mr Kyari had in a letter dated 25th January, 2019 claimed that the NHRC authorised him to recover money from the kidnap kingpin’s account and pay it in a private account while the matter was pending in court.
“The National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria (Presidential Panel on SARS Reforms) which sat in Abuja on 25th January 2019, directed the Legal Officer of IGP-IRT to recover money in possession of any person controlling the aforesaid properties and make them render an account.
“In view of the above-stated fact, you are hereby directed/ordered to recover any money therefrom and take possession and make sure it is properly kept and safe in your custody, because if paid into the Police account, it will be difficult to recover it and tender it before the court as the matter is still pending at the Honourable Federal High Court, Owerri Judicial Division. The court may make a demand for it in the nearest future,” Mr Kyari’s letter read.
The claim was, however, denied by sources from the NHRC panel which sat between 14 and 26 January 2019.
Peoples Gazette could not reach Kyari for comments while the spokesperson for the police, Frank Mba did not respond to request seeking clarifications on whether or not it is a standard police procedure for assets under investigation to be diverted into private custody as a way of preserving evidence.