Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) has described as false the media reports that his office had conclusively exonerated Abba Kyari.
The clarification was made in a statement issued on Sunday by Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
According to Gwandu, there appears to be a misunderstanding regarding the issue.
“It was a case of a work in progress and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation requested for further probe in relation to some aspects of the investigation,” the statement read in part.
The embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Kyari, who is wanted in the United States for his alleged involvement in a $1.1m scam carried out by a notorious Internet fraudster, Ramon Abass, a.k.a Hushpuppi, was suspended by the police in July 2021.
Months later, the AGF affirmed that investigations carried out by the police had indicted the once-celebrated officer for money laundering.
“The position now is that there are prima facie grounds – reasonable grounds for suspicion that have been considered from the perspective of prosecution, from the perspective of likely extradition, if the need for so doing arises,” the Minister who was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today had said in February.
However, according to a separate letter reportedly written on behalf of the AGF by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Justice, the evidence contained in the case diary was not sufficient to indicate or show that the said monies (N279mn) were laundered directly or indirectly by Kyari.
The alleged contradiction in the AGF’s statements sparked speculations in the media that he was plotting to exonerate Kyari.
But Gwandu’s statement on Sunday insisted that was not the case.
“The office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice’s stance is that no conclusion has been reached in the direction of an absence of evidence relating to the first report,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Kyari who is now facing fresh drug trafficking charges brought against him by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), pleaded not guilty before Justice Emeka Nwite of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday.
The NDLEA had filed eight counts of hard drug trafficking against him along with six others.
According to the agency, Mr Kyari, between January 19 and 25, dealt in 17.55 kilograms of cocaine.
He is also being charged with obstruction of justice through attempted bribery of NDLEA officers.