THE TRIAL OF HUSHPUPPI

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The Nigerian-born international scamster and Instagram celebrity, Ramoni Igbalode Abbas’ (otherwise known as Hushpuppi) arrested by the E-police unit of the Dubai Police a week ago, might come to his admirers as a bolt out of the blue. But to the well-meaning Nigerians, it was long expected. Reason being that, despite the fact that his source of opulence was questionable, he would still go on social media to make noise. It was from him, most of his social media followers did see the latest designer clothes, expensive watches and costly cars.

The Police upon his arrest discovered that Hushpuppi and his accomplices had accumulated N168bn through corporate mails and sending fake messages to clients, and redirecting their financial transfers to their own accounts. And that 1,926,000 persons from different parts of the world fell victims. Some 13 luxury cars worth 3.7bn, 150 million dirham, computers, storage devices and hard disks containing data were recovered from the flat where they were arrested.

I was surprised that he was living such opulent lifestyle until his arrest, even though he knows his source of wealth is unclean. Proverbs 11:21 has it that: “The evil person will not go unpunished, but the children of the righteous will escape.” My people also say lies may never be discovered in 20 years but one day the truth will surely be revealed.

He might’ve been arrested in the past, and had his way. However, with the look of things, this one will not be business as usual. He has been extradited to United States, where he is now being indicted for money laundering and other cybercrimes.

Hushpuppi’s extradition to US has been revealing what he thought he had swept under the carpet. The Department of Justice of the United States published it on its website that he is accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars from business emails compromise (BEC) frauds and some other scams, which include targeting a U.S law firm, an English Premier League club and a foreign bank. However, if he is found guilty of the allegations, he will spend 20 years of his life in the US prison.

Meanwhile, chances that he will not be found guilty are very slim. If he is not lucky, once he is found guilty, all the wealth he fraudulently amassed will be confiscated. And that will end the reigns of his opulent and luxurious lifestyle. I hope his trial will serve as deterrent to other scamsters and potential ‘hushpuppies’.

Aremu Lukman Umor,

Lagos