By Ohia Israel
The former Inspector General of Police, Mike Mbama Okiro, was last week indicted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC. The ICPC also asked Okiro to refund the sum of N133 Million which is the balance of the N350m he received from the Federal Government for staff training and physical monitoring of police personnel during the last general elections.
The report of the ICPC which was addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the Police Service Commission, Federal Secretariat, Abuja with reference number ICPC/INV/GBP/HOD/352 dated 6th August, 2015.
The report which was titled: “RE: INVESTIGATION ACTIVITIES Petition Against Sir (Dr.) Mike Mbama Okiro, Chairman, Police Service Commission for Corruption, Abuse of Office and Fraudulent Act to Swindle the Police Service Commission to the tune- of N275.525,000 only, stated thus; “The above captioned petition forwarded from your office on the 25th May, 2015 refers ”,implying that it was PSC that forwarded the petition against Okiro to ICPC for investigation.
The ICPC findings also stated that; “The Commission has conducted thorough investigation into the matters raised in the referred petition and found:
“That the Police Service Commission (PSC) received the sum of Three hundred and fifty million naira (N35Qm) from the Federal Government to monitor the conduct of Police Personel at the recently conducted General election. The Commission budgeted to expend the fund on training and physical monitoring during the election
According to the anti-graft agency’s chairman,”Investigation findings revealed that the Commission budgeted for training of 900 staff and to conduct training in Abuja, Lagos and Kano. However, the entire staff force was not more that (sic) 391 and that is the figure actually trained in a programme held in Abuja only. The Commission accepted the explanation that due process could not be adhered to strictly because of time constraint
The commission also noted the shocking fact that “The Police Service Commission paid DTA to all staff including those based in Abuja that participated in the training programme held within Abuja. Air-Ticket and DTA were paid to Management staff and others who monitored elections within Abuja and its environs; even at locations (where) Airports do not exist such as Lokoja and Minna (schedule of affected officers attached).”
“It was also confirmed that the Chairman collected 5 days each for two Conferences that ran simultaneously in Durblin and Orlando, Florida. However, it was discovered that he expended the entire 10days on the trip. Though, he only expended the ticket-fare for Abuja-Durblin-Abuja, he has however, written to the Presidency to expend the ticket-fare for Abuja-Orlando-Abuja on another trip coming up by October, 2015.
The ICPC report hinted thus; “The investigation has not revealed any act of criminal infraction against the person of Sir (Dr.) Mike Mbama Okiro, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission as all issues outlined above are administrative in nature and within the ambits of career public servants handlings.
“Consequently, this Commission hereby direct as follows:(a) That, the total balance of N133,413,845.99 from the N350,000,000 2015 Election monitoring exercise domiciled within FCMB be remitted to, the Federal Treasury through the ICPC Recovery Account (number withheld) at Zenith Bank Plc.
“(b) That, the Staff of your Commission who took part in the 2015 General Election Monitoring Exercise and were paid 2-way Return Ticket and Airport Taxi to location within FCT and States of close proximity to Abuja amounting to N11,750,000 (list attached) should refund same to the Treasury through the ICPC Recovery Account (number with held) at Zenith Bank Plc.
“(c) That, if the Presidency .approves of the utilization of the application by the Chairman to Utilise the Abuja-Orlando-Abuja airfare for an upcoming conference; we will consider the matter. However, if approval is refused the fund thereof should be returned to the Police Service Commission and ICPC so informed.
Meanwhile, the former Police boss has said denied the report of the ICPC, as he said that he was not indicted. In a reaction by Emmanuel Ibeh who is the Director Administration and Finance, said that Okiro was never indicted by the anti-graft body.
According to his statement he said; “Paragraph 3 of the ICPC report states “The investigation has not revealed any act of criminal infraction against the person of Sir (Dr.) Mike Mbama Okiro, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission as all issues outlined above are administrative in nature and within the ambits of career public servants handling.
“Where then is the indictment? The Hon. Chairman has gone through the publication and finds it not only damaging and malicious but offensive and actionable. It is also fictitious as the caption has no link whatsoever with the ICPC report or even the body of the story.”
Meanwhile, the petitioner, Mr. Kaase in his response added that the ICPC showed unpleasant lack of skill in her battle against corruption.
Kaase said that the ICPC report; “has exposed it’s gross incompetence and lack of seriousness to lead the war against corruption in its just released report purportedly “exonerating” Mr. Mike Okiro , Chairman of Police Service Commission of any criminal infraction in the alleged N275.5 million PSC election fraud.”
According to his statement he said that the anti-graft agency is taking President Muhamadu Buhari “for granted in a key agenda on which he rode to power.”
“My position is that the ICPC has either compromised it’s mandate or completely lacks knowledge of government financial regulations, Public Service rules, procurement laws or both. The few points below will illustrate my position,” Kaase said.
“The ICPC said it investigated, found and agreed that the PSC planned to train 900 staff in Lagos, Kano and Abuja but actually has 391 staff and that was the number actually trained in Abuja.
“Query: Is the ICPC aware that misrepresentation of facts to BPP in other to get a fraudulent approval an offence under the PPA act(2007) which carries a penalty of up to 5 year prison term?
“Can ICPC that claimed it was satisfied with the PSC explanation on the above prove to Nigerians the staff disposition list showing the number of PSC staff in Lagos, Abuja or Kano?
“While the correspondence from PSC to BPP and vice versa was specific about the Commission staff and no mention was made to ad hoc or any staff? Yet this forgery does not amount to a criminal offence in the parlance of ICPC when the correspondence was signed under the hand of Mr. Okiro as contained in my petition.
“ICPC confirmed that Mr. Okiro collected money for two foreign conferences and attended one where he spent 10 days for a two day programme instead of five and has written to the President to use the other balance this October.
“Query: if this is a practice at ICPC, it means the set of financial rules at ICPC are different from the rest of Nigeria. At what point did Mr. Okiro make the request and to which president? Did ICPC care to find out that the supposed US trip is to attend a private organisations annual gathering of serving and retired police officers and as such, government funds cannot be expended on such frivolities?”