An anti-corruption, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), called on the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to prosecute Mr. Mike Okiro, a former Inspector-General of Police and Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC), for fraud.
The group made the demand in a petition signed by its Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, and addressed to the ICPC Chairman.
To drive home its point, the coalition referred to a 6 August 2015 report (Ref No. ICPC/INV/GBP/HOD/362), issued by the ICPC, on the investigation of Mr. Okiro and based on a petition sent to it by Mr. Aaron Kaase, a whistleblower in the PSC.
“On 6 August 2015, during the time of your predecessor, the ICPC came out with findings based on a petition sent to it by a whistleblower, Mr. Aaron Kaase. In the said report, the ICPC came out with findings of its detailed investigation, which indicted Mr. Mike Okiro in all ramifications based on provisions of the ICPC Act, Procurement Act 2007 and other laws violated, but curiously stated it found no criminal infraction on the person of Mr. Okiro,” read the coalition’s petition.
CSNAC said it found ICPC’s findings disturbing and suspects that they were arrived at through an act of complicity. On account of this, the coalition demanded a review of the findings and prosecution of Mr.Okiro based on the ICPC Act.
“ICPC findings confirmed that the PSC budgeted and collected money for the training of 900 non-existent staff, but trained only 391 being the actual number of staff, thereby deceiving the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) that provided the funds and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE) to obtain a fraudulent approval to expend the funds,” said CSNAC.
It pointed the attention of the anti-graft body to Section 25(1) (a) & (b) of the ICPC Act, which prohibits making false statements or those intended to mislead public officers. The Act, added CSNAC, provides a penalty, upon conviction, a fine not exceeding N100, 000 or a maximum prison sentence of two years or both.
“We urge you to apply the provision of the ICPC Act against the above-mentioned infraction on Mr.Okiro. The ICPC report ordered the PSC to return N133.4 million, being a violation of Section 16 of the ICPC Act, which prescribes a maximum of seven years in jail for any officer charged with the receipt, custody, use or management of public revenue or property that makes false statement or return in respect money or property entrusted in his care.
“We urge you to invoke provisions of this Act and prosecute Mr. Okiro accordingly. We further urge you to confirm to us if the said money has been returned to the ICPC recovery account as directed,” CSNAC said.
The coalition applauded the recent decision of the ICPC to prosecute Emmanuel Ibe, PSC’s Director Administration and Finance, based on the forensic findings that showed he authorized the payment of air returned tickets and taxi fare to designated staff to destinations without reaching the airport.
“Commendable as this is, it is incomplete and unjustifiable if your commission chooses to prosecute only Mr. Ibe and allow Mr. Okiro to walk a free man, considering Mr. Ibe acted under the instruction of Mr.Okiro,” said CSNAC.