The former head of the Police Intelligence Response Team, Abba Kyari is in fresh legal trouble after a sting operation by the officers of the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) indicted him.
Mr Kyari, who is facing possible extradition to the US on cyber fraud-related offences risks life imprisonment if convicted by a competent court for the offence of selling cocaine.
The police on Monday arrested Kyari some hours after the NDLEA declared him wanted and released a video of him selling cocaine.
According to the statement by the police, Kyari was indicted for official corruption, tampering with narcotic exhibits and other unprofessional conduct.
Consequently, the police have handed Kyari to the police for further investigation and prosecution under the NDLEA act.
Part II, chapter 11 of the Act provides that
“(a) Any person, who without lawful authority imports, manufactures, plants, or grows the drugs popularly known as cocaine, LSD, heroin, and other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
“(b)export, transport, or otherwise traffic in the drug popularly known as cocaine, LSD heroine or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to be sentenced to life imprisonment.
“(c) sells, buys, exposes or offers for sales or otherwise deals in or with the drug popularly known as cocaine, LSD heroine or any other similar drugs shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to be sentenced to imprisonment for life.”
Section 16 of the Act also provides the punishment for tampering with evidence, which is one of the crimes Kyari is being accused of. On this count, Kyari risks 25years imprisonment if convicted for evidence tampering.
Speaking on the matter, a legal luminary, Henry Kelechukwu, who spoke with DAILY POST, said the chances of Kyari getting a prison term were high.
“Every case usually has loopholes to be exploited, however, this case is quite close-knitted. The reason is simply because the offences for which he is being accused to have committed are offences which have semblance of strict liability where you need not to even prove intention; of course, it depends on the charge which the prosecuting agency wants to prosecute him with.
“The nature of the offence: you are looking at selling, possession, particularly if the quantity you are in possession of is of marketable quantity, it makes it difficult for you to exonerate yourself.
“If you now juxtapose it with the proceeds of crime aspect, which is the dollar exchange made for the said drugs, it makes it a multifaceted charge sheet against him and his co-conspirators. The law has already prescribed in some instances life imprisonment, 25years in imprisonment, it is actually even more than corruption cases.
“In corruption cases, you can have a plea bargain option, where you could return the money to the government for lesser charges, but in this option, you do not have the option of fine or returning money, the least option is jail term, at no time would a jail time not be given.”
It would be recalled that Kyari in his glorious days was celebrated by Nigerians and even the House of Representatives had honoured him at the Green Chamber for his exploits.