Anti-graft coalition, the CiviI Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has commended the judiciary for its recent reinstatement of Mr. Aaron Kaase, a whistleblower sacked from the Police Service Commission (PSC) for exposing the corrupt activities of Mr. Mike Okiro, PSC Chairman. CSNAC also stated that the development has confirmed its allegations of corruption against Mr. Okiro, a former Inspector-General of Police.
The coalition's position was made known in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju.
Mr. Kaase was reinstated via a letter dated 7 March (Ref PSC/PN/173/I/195), signed by the Director of Administration/HRM at the Commission.
The reinstatement, noted CSNAC, was triggered by a November 2017 National Industrial Court judgement given after almost three years of victimization, activism, advocacy, petitions and litigations for Mr. Kaase's reinstatement.
Following the reinstatement of Mr. Kasse, CSNAC demanded the prosecution of Mr. Mike Okiro who, in May 2015, had been exposed by Mr. Kaase for carrying out a fraud to the tune of N275 million. Mr. Okiro was also recently exposed, via a tapped phone conversation, discussing offering the promotion of police officers as favour and negotiation.
CSNAC recalled that on 6 June 2015, it petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari to demand the recall of Mr. Kaase by the PSC, the withdrawal of charges against him as well as the provision of security for him and his family on account of threats to his life.
CSNAC equally recalled that its actions attracted legal threat, political harassment and propaganda against it and its Chairman. "A legal firm under the instruction of Mr. Okiro threatened legal action against our group for supporting Mr. Kaase and our demand for prosecution of Mr. Okiro. Apology and retraction of allegations against Okiro were demanded. We remained steadfast, consistent and unwavering and called the bluff of Mr. Okiro and his libel threat. Fictitious and discredited 'NGOs', renown for being at the beck and call of corrupt public officers, were mobilised to attack our Network and the Chairman without success," said CSNAC.
What followed was that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), in its 6 August 2015 report, confirmed all the allegations in Mr. Kaase's petition and demanded the refund of all the funds stolen through the fraud. Despite the confirmation, the PSC suspended Mr. Kaase on 21 May, 2018 for exposing the fraudulent activities of PSC staff, especially Mr. Okiro.
CSNAC had petitioned the ICPC on 25 August 2015 to demand the prosecution of Mr. Okiro based on violation of Sections 16 and 25 (1) (a&b) of ICPC Act and Section 58(4(b)) and 5(a-c) of the Bureau for Public Procurement Act.
"The ICPC had since arraigned Mr. Emmanuel Ibe, PSC Director of Finance and Administration, before Justice C.N Oji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court on a nine-count charge," said CSNAC.
It, however, stated that the ICPC could not summon the courage to charge Mr. Okiro, who was the approving authority in the alleged crime.
Mr. Okiro, using the Police, proceeeded to concoct a variety of charges against Mr. Kaase. These charges were filed at three different courts by the Police, but were consecutively dismissed. On 1 June 2017, CSNAC wrote to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) through the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution to demand that the AGF intervene by taking over the prosecution of Mr. Kaase from the Police and Mr. Okiro.
"While we continue to demand for the prosecution of Mr. Okiro as provided in the law, we salute the courage of the Judiciary, through the National Industrial Court under Justice R. B. Hastrup for upholding the rule of law, enforcing the rights of Mr. Kaase and putting an end to tyranny. We once again salute Mr. Kaase for standing by the truth and confronting the vicissitude of whistleblowing with the courage and resilience of a fighter, to the point of victory," CSNAC said.