Following a report on the investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission directing Mr. Mike Okiro, Chairman of the Police Service Commission, to refund N133 million to the federal government; a civil society group has called for his resignation.
In a statement, Thursday, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, a coalition of anti-corruption groups, said that Mr. Okiro’s integrity has been compromised.
The ICPC had conducted an investigation after fraud allegations were levelled against Mr. Okiro, a former Inspector General of Police, by one Aaron Kaase, a staff of the PSC.
In the petition, Mr. Kaase alleged that Mr. Okiro defrauded the PSC to the tune of N275 million, which he claimed would be used to train 900 PSC workers when in actual truth, the commission had only 391 staff.
In its report dated August 6, the ICPC confirmed Mr. Kaase’s claims, revealing that Mr. Okiro actually received N350 million to train 900 PSC staff.
The ICPC also found that the training of staff held only in Abuja but the Okiro-led Commission budgeted for trainings in Abuja, Lagos, and Kaduna.
“PSC paid daily travelling allowances to all members of staff including those based in Abuja that participated in the training programme held within Abuja”, the ICPC report stated.
“Air tickets were paid to management staff and others who monitored elections within Abuja and its environs; even as locations where airports do not exist such as Lokoja and Minna.
“PSC chairman 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”.
In its recommendations, the ICPC directed the former police chief to remit N133 million of the N350 million he received for staff training and physical monitoring of police personnel during the last general election, to the ICPC recovery account at First City Monument Bank.
It also directed the ICPC staff, who were paid two-way return tickets and airport taxi fares to locations within the FCT and surrounding states during the monitoring exercise, to refund N11.75 million.
The report, however, expressly cleared Mr. Okiro of any wrong doing as all the outlined issues are administrative in nature and within the ambits of career public servants handling.
The petitioner, in his reaction, slammed the ICPC, saying the way it let Mr. Okiro off the hook was an indication that it was not adequately prepared to fight corruption.
In its Thursday statement, CSNAC also disagreed with the ICPC’s recommendations.
The group said that the N133 million ought to be remitted to the Federation Account, and not a recovery account in FCMB, since the federal government had directed all agencies to maintain a Treasury Single Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“All those who fraudulently collected money for flight tickets and airport taxi fares in places without airports should be sanctioned appropriately; beyond mere return of collected monies”, CSNAC said in the statement signed by its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju.
“Furthermore, the Chairman of the Commission, by inflating the staff strength and; collecting travel allowances for separate programs running concurrently has compromised his integrity, displayed financial imprudence and thereby unfit for continued occupation of an office established to prevent the act just committed by Mr. Okiro.
“The request to expend in October is not plausible and cannot be an atonement for the crime already committed”.
Mr. Suraju, therefore, called on the ICPC to review the directives contained in its report.
“The money to be remitted should be paid into the appropriate federal government account and Mr. Okiro and culpable staff members should be awarded punishments appropriate in the laws”, Mr. Suraju said.
“Ultimately, Mr. Okiro should be made to resign as the Chairman of the Police Service Commission with immediate effect”, CSNAC added.