Rights group casts doubts on PSC N375.5m fraud story, clears Okiro

Posted by News Express | 2 June 2015 | 3,449 times

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The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has waded into the raging allegation of N375.5 million fraud in the Police Service Commission (PSC) as made by an embattled staff of the agency, declaring that from an independent investigations by a team from the group, there are strong doubts on the credibility of the allegations.

The rights group hinged her conviction on independent investigation by a team from the group as well as evidence it cited through credible intelligence sources.

It, therefore, submitted that the Police Service Commission under the headship of the erstwhile Inspector General of Police Mr Mike Okiro can be rated as one of the few federal agencies that has been mindful of not falling into the pitfalls of breaching extant rules on strict accountability and transparency.

“Mr Okiro left the police with his head held high and from our internal probe most of those staff who should know confirmed that the Chairman has brought in a lot of internal mechanisms to effectively prevent fraud and theft of government fund in the agency,” HURWA said in a statement.

It added that it has seen documentary evidence to show that the wild allegations are not only sensational and unsubstantiated but the source of the allegations is reportedly facing subsisting charge in the competent court of law over alleged Visa scam.

"Our findings shows that the said suspended staff may have embarked on a journey of vendetta and a grudge mission apparently feeling disappointed that the Chairman of the Police Service Commission refused to use his influence within the police circle to shield him from any police arrest and subsequent arraignment before the court of law for alleged Visa scam made by a non staff of the commission at the Zone 7 Command of the Nigeria Police Force Abuja. We were told that the said petitioner may also be nursing deep grudge of been transferred out of the protocols unit within the office of the Chairman against all the internal protests he raised to stay on in that specific Protocols unit." it also stated.

Specifically, a petition reportedly sent by a suspended staff of the commission to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had made series of allegations including the one alleging that the leadership of the Police Service Commission (PSC) has misappropriated N275.5 million.

HURIWA stated further: “We are aware that the Commission has swiftly denied the allegation, maintaining there is a balance of N133. 6 million unspent in the commission’s bank account but the alleged threats to his life raised by the petitioner drew our attention to this matter which made us to probe further upon which we stumbled on some documentations including payment mandates effected with the general election staff training funding release made to the police service commission from the office of the National Security Adviser to immediate past President Good luck Jonathan, Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

“Those documents we have seen shows that indeed there is no shreds of evidence to back those range of allegations. We think the story about the alleged fraud was couched to implicitly force the hands of the new President to wield the big stick by sensationally reorganising the leadership of the police commission to show to Nigerians that he meant business in his avowed anti corruption mantra.

“We hereby urge for calm and caution and advise against any hasty decision by President Buhari without thoroughly establishing cogent and verifiable evidence before adopting any action against any Nigerian official who is currently holding a statutory tenured positions.”

While not opposed to police security to be given to Mr. Aaron Kaase, a Principal Administrative Officer in the Press and Public Affairs Unit of the commission, who has been placed on suspension who has cried out that some unknown persons have been threatening his life, after he submitted the petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to expose the alleged financial misdemeanour of the chairman, HURIWA has advocated transparent investigations of the allegations in a professionally competent manner but at the same time dismissed any possibility that the current chairman of the commission could get involved in such huge scam even when there are internal accounting checks and balances within the commission that is not only water tight but manned by tested and trusted career civil servants, who wouldn't allow their long years of service to be tarnished because of theft of public fund under their custody.

HURIWA said it also has a documentary defence credited to the media spokesman of the commission Mr Ikechukwu Ani in which he disputed  these allegations thus: “Mr. Kaase leveled series of false and malicious accusations against the person of the chairman…obviously with intent to embarrass and ridicule the chairman.”

“We confirm that as a build up to the 2015 general elections, the commission relying on provisions of its Establishment Act, sought for funding from various sources but received only the sum of N350 million from a source for the training of monitors for the exercise and monitoring of the conduct of policemen deployed for election duties during the elections.

“This is a standard practice and the appropriate permission was sought and gotten from the BPP to get experts to train the staff of the commission, “although the Commission had initially scheduled trainings in Lagos for staff and other auxiliary personnel such as NYSC members, IT students, policemen and some members of the Police Community Relations Committee that were to be deployed in the South West for the exercise and the same for Kano for those to be deployed to the North and Abuja for the intended remaining monitors for the effective coverage of 774 Local Government Areas of the country.

“We want to put it on record that there was no expenditure of the sum of N275, 525, 000 for the training of the commission’s staff for the monitoring exercise…It should also be noted that the expenditures were drawn from the N350 million received by the Commission. As at today the commission still has a balance of N133, 641,795.49 in its special account for the exercise,” Mr Ani affirmed in the document.

He gave a breakdown of expenditure to include Duty Tour Allowances (DTA) and travelling expenses for monitoring exercise N180, 957,000.00. Payment to consultants N28, 361,654.01, DTA for Staff Training for one day N6, 902,000.00, Telephone lines and Handsets for Staff N792,500.00 and Poster/handbills/ID Cards N375,000.00, among others.

•Photo shows PSC Chairman Okiro.

Source: News Express

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