Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
Following a petition by an employee of the Police Service Commission, Solomon Kaase, alleging fraud against the PSC to the tune of N275million by the Chairman, Mr. Mike Okiro, the Commission conducted an investigation into the allegations. In a report released on the 6th day of August, 2015 signed by the Commission’s Chairman, Mr. Ekpo Nta, the Commission directed that Mr Okiro should remit N133, 413,845.99 of the N350, 000,000 he received from the Federal Government for staff training and physical monitoring of police personnel during the last general elections, to the Federal Treasury through the ICPC recovery account at First City Monument Bank, amongst other directives.
While we commend your Commission for the swift investigation and conclusion of same, we however wish to state that the directives issued by the ICPC failed to uphold the true intent and spirit of the mandate given to the ICPC by its establishing Act. A careful perusal of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 will reveal that the actions of Mr. Okiro contravened several provisions of that law and attract sanctions/penalties. In particular, the following sections of the ICPC Acts were violated:
Section 16 of the Act provides as follows:“(16) Any person who, being an officer charged with the receipt, custody, use ormanagement of any part of the public revenue or property, knowingly furnishesany false statement or return in respect of any money or property received byhim or entrusted to his care, or of any balance of money or property in hispossession or under his control, is guilty of an offence, and shall on conviction beliable to seven (7) years imprisonment”From the above stated section, it is clear that Mr. Okiro’s act of inflating the number of employees of the Police Service Commission from 391 to 900 in order to receive N350,000,000 constitutes an offence under this section with corresponding penalty.Also, the investigation revealed that Mr. Okiro collected money for two conferences that ran simultaneously in Dublin and Orlando, Florida, expending ticket fare for the Dublin trip only. However, he had written to the Presidency to expend the ticket fare for Abuja-Orlando-Abuja on another trip coming up in October, 2015. This clearly contravenes Section 25(1) (a) & (b) which prohibits making statements which are false or intended to mislead to public officers or officers of the Commission and also providing penalties for such acts.It provides as follows:(25)- (1) Any person who makes or cause any other person to make to an officer of thecommission or to any other public officer, in the course of the exercise by suchPublic officer of the duties of his office, any statement which to the knowledgeof the person making the statement, or causing the statement to be made-(a) is false, or intended to mislead or is in true in any material particular; or(b) is not consistent with any other statement previously made by such person toany other person having authority or power under any law to receive, or requireto be made such other statement notwithstanding that the person making thestatement is not under any legal or other obligation to tell the truth, shall beguilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding onehundred thousand Naira or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2)years or to both such fine and imprisonment.However, the sanctions provided by these sections are such that only a court of competent jurisdiction, in this case, a superior court of record can pronounce. It is our opinion that the mere directives issued by the Commission does not do fair justice to the matter in any form. It is beyond doubt that the directive that Mr. Okiro remit the said amount constitutes an indictment and is enough ground for prosecution.Furthermore, a review of Bureau for Public Procurement response to the Police Service Commission’s Chairman clearly objected to the expenditure undertaken by the Chairman. This is contravention of section 58 (4(b)) and Section 5(a-c) of the BPP Act, attracting prosecution and imprisonment on conviction of the Chairman.We are therefore by this petition demanding that Mr. Mike Okiro be charged to court and prosecuted for the offences allegedly committed, so that the appropriate court can make the necessary pronouncements. This will go a long way in deterring other officer and a reminder to all that public offices are not and should not be an avenue for ill gotten wealth. It will also strengthen the confidence of Nigerians that the commission is truly prepared to carry out its mandate of stemming the tide of corruption in the Police in Particular and Nigeria in General.Thanks in anticipation of your urgent consideration and cooperation.Yours faithfully,Olanrewaju SurajuChairman