The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami has cautioned a Federal High Court in Abuja against granting bail to suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari in his ongoing extradition proceedings, The Nation reports.
The AGF’s position is contained in a counter-affidavit he filed in opposition to a bail application by Kyari.
The AGF last month applied to the court for among others, an order permitting the surrender of Kyari to the United States authorities for prosecution in relation to a criminal indictment said to be pending against him.
Before the April 27 fixed by Justice Inyang Ekwo for the hearing of the extradition application, Kyari applied for bail, claiming ill-health.
But, in his counter-affidavit, the AGF argued that, not only is Kyari untruthful about his claim to ill-health, the medical reports he is parading were issued on an examination carried out about three years ago.
The AGF added the application for bail was a ploy by Kyari to abscond before the conclusion of the extradition hearing.
He said: “The medical reports attached in support of the affidavit of the respondent are issued in respect of a medical condition that occurred in 2019 over three and half years ago.
“There is nothing to show that the respondent still suffers from the same ailment today.
“There is nothing to guarantee that the respondent/applicant will not interfere with the case as he may abscond before the outcome of the case.
“The issue before this court is simply to determine whether or not the respondent/applicant should be extradited to face trial in the United States of America based on the evidence before this honourable court.
“The applicant/respondent (AGF) asserts that the respondent/applicant (Kyari) will jump bail at the slightest opportunity and will frustrate this honourable court from determining this application justly, judiciously and speedily,” the AGF said.
In a supporting written address authored by the Head, Central Authority Unit (CAU) of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Akutah PIus Ukeyima, it was noted that the offence in respect of which Kyari is facing extradition bothers on his indictment.
He added: “It is a felony and a serious offence at that: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting.
“The maximum punishment for these offences upon conviction in the United States carries a maximum of 20 years each as contained in the various United States laws.
“In Nigeria, if is for a term of ten years with an option of a fine or both fine and imprisonment. His assets and properties, on conviction, are liable to forfeiture as provided under the Cybercrime (Prohibition, prevention, etc) Act, 2015.
“A cursory look at the extradition request and the affidavit evidence in respect of the extradition application shows that the evidence against the respondent/applicant are so overwhelming that the court’s discretion should not be exercised in his favour,” he said.
Ukeyima argued that since extradition cases are purely affidavit evidence cases and may not really require lengthy time to conclude, the court should refuse Kyari application for bail in view of the risk involved, but instead, order parties to submit all written arguments to enable the court proceed and conclude the substantive case.
Meanwhile Justice Donatus Okorowo (also of the Federal High Court in Abuja) has rescheduled hearing for June 14 in a suit by a group, the Incorporated Trustees of Northern Peace Foundation (NPF), seeking to stop Kyari’s extradition.
The group, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/854/2021, filed by their lawyer, Kayode Ajulo, argued that Kyari’s planned extradition was violation of his rights.
At the mention of the case on Monday, parties were absent. They were also not represented by any lawyer.
Justice Okorowo, who had on the last date threatened to strike out the suit for lack of diligent prosecution, said he would grant one more adjournment.
The judge then adjourned till June 14 and ordered the service of hearing notice on all the parties.