Former Inspector General of Police Mike Okiro, who also is the current chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), was reportedly subdued during questioning yesterday by anti-corruption agents over his alleged role in a fraud involving N350 million.
A source at the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) told a correspondent of SaharaReporters that Mr. Okiro seemed sometimes disheartened yesterday as he was questioned on alleged fraudulent embezzlement of funds obtained by the police commission for an election-related study.
Mr. Okiro presented himself early yesterday morning at the offices of the ICPC. His police orderly, George Todonu, and two officials of the Police Service Commission, including an accountant, A. Bisala, accompanied him to the ICPC. Other PSC officials arrived at the ICPC headquarters about two hours later, our source disclosed.
Mr. Okiro’s interrogation arose from a petition against him that was submitted to the ICPC by Aaron Kaase, an official in the PSC’s press and public relations department. The Police Service Commission suspended Mr. Kaase for contacting the media with allegations of Mr. Okiro’s fraudulent activities.
The petition accused the former Inspector General of massively defrauding the Police Service Commission.
Part of Mr. Kaase’s petition alleged that Mr. Okiro swindled the PSC of more than N275 million. A copy of the petition stated that the PSC received N350 million “from the National Security Adviser (NSA) purportedly to train her staff in monitoring the conduct of the
Nigeria police in the concluded general election.” The petitioner added that the PSC asked for and received approval from Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to use “selective tendering method” for the training of commission’s staff who were to monitor the police role in the 2015 general elections.
Mr. Kaase wrote to the ICPC that Mr. Okiro “quoted the prices for the training as follows: Abuja (Abuja staff) 500 participants, awarded to Bobec & Associates at N95.3 million; Kano staff (200 participants) awarded to Direct Knowledge Consult Limited at N95 million and Lagos staff (200 participants) awarded to Tzone Communications Limited at N85 million.” His Kaase’s petition underscored the fraudulent nature of Mr. Okiro’s breakdown of the training funds. Specifically, the petitioner noted that the entire employees of the Police Service Commission are not up to 400 in number.
“It is also a fact that the Commission has no office in Lagos and the entire South West. It is also a fact that the Commission has less than 10 members of staff in Kano,” the petition stated, adding that Mr. Okiro misled the Bureau of Public Procurement in order to obtain an approval for a fraudulent disbursement of the N350 million.
Other allegations in Mr. Kaase’s petition include one that, in 2013, Mr. Okiro received N4.6 million ostensibly for a first class flight ticket to the U.S., but never made the trip. The petitioner also accused Mr. Okiro’s police orderly, Inspector George Todonu, of obtaining cash supposedly meant for two different police conferences that were scheduled within the same dates in Orlando, Florida (USA) and Dublin, Ireland. According to the petition, despite the fact that he collected monies for the two coinciding conferences, Mr. Todonu did not attend either conference.
Mr. Kaase also accused the former IGP of using several of his personal aides, including Supreme Ibitomi and Peter Opara, as fronts to collect allowances from the commission.
In a related development, Mr. Kaase reported that he had faced harassment and his life threatened for submitting the petition. According to him, at a meeting at Mr. Okiro’s office on June 2, 2015, a visibly shaken former IGP asked him to withdraw his petition, retract his media statements, and write an apology in exchange for the lifting of his suspension.
Our source at the ICPC declined to reveal specific details of Mr. Okiro’s responses to specific allegations in Mr. Kaase’s petition, adding simply that the anti-corruption agency wanted to “do a thorough investigation.”
Mr. Okiro was granted administrative bail and left the ICPC headquarters just after 4 p.m. yesterday after questioning.