ABUJA – The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has ordered the Mike Okiro-led Police Service Commission to refund to the government treasury the sum of N133.4 million out of the N350 million it received from the Federal Government for the monitoring of the conduct of the 2015 elections.
The ICPC, which investigated the allegation of fund diversion levelled against Okiro, said that although it did not find any act of criminal infraction against him, the balance of the money must be returned to the government.
The outcome of the ICPC investigation which was obtained by Vanguard last night indicated that while the PSC under Okiro budgeted and collected money for 900 police officers and men who were to be trained in Lagos, Kano and Abuja, only 391 staff were actually trained in Abuja.
The commission also directed that the sum of N11 million which was collected by staff who pretended to have travelled out of Abuja by air but actually monitored election within Abuja and its environs, be returned with immediate effect to the Federal treasury.
The report of the investigation dated August 6, 2015 with ref. No. ICPC/Inv/GBP/HOD/352 and addressed to the Permanent Secretary Police Service Commission, said that the commission had carried out thorough investigation into the allegation of corruption, abuse of office and fraudulent act to swindle the PSC to the tune of N275.5 million raised against Mike Okiro
“That the Police Service Commission (PSC) received the sum of N350 million from the Federal Government to monitor the conduct of police personnel in the recently conducted general election. The Commission budgeted–to expend the fund on training and physical monitoring during the election.
“Investigation findings revealed that the Commission budgeted for training of 900 staff and to conduct training in Abuja, Lagos and Kano. .However, the entire staff force was not more that 391 and that is the figure actually trained in a programme held in Abuja only, The commission accepted the explanation that due process could not be adhered to strictly because of time constraint.
“The Police Service Commission paid Duty Tour Allowance to all staff including those based in Abuja who participated in the training programme held within Abuja. Air-Ticket and DTA were paid to management staff and others who monitored elections within Abuja and its environs; even at locations were airports do not exist such as Lokoja and Minna.
“It was also confirmed that the Chairman collected 5 days each for two conferences that ran simultaneously in Durblin and Orlando, Florida. However, it was discovered that he expended the entire 10 days on the trip. Though, he only expended the ticket-fare for Abuja-Durblin-Abuja, he has however, written to the Presidency to expend the ticket-fare for Abuja-Orlando-Abuja on another trip coming up by October 2015.
“The investigation has not revealed any act of criminal infraction against the person of Sir (Dr.) Mike Mbama Okiro, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission as all issues outlined above are administrative in nature and within the ambits of career public servants handlings.
“Consequently, this commission hereby direct as follows:
“That, the total balance of N133,413,845.99 from the N350,000,000 2015 election monitoring exercise domiciled within FCMB be remitted to the Federal Treasury through the ICPC Recovery Account No. 1012929790 at Zenith Bank Plc.
“That the staff of your commission who took part in the 2015 General Election monitoring Exercise and were paid 2-way Return Ticket and Airport Taxi to location within FCT and states of close proximity to Abuja amounting to N11,750,000 (list attached) should refund same to the treasury through the ICPC Recovery Account No. 1012929790 at Zenith Bank Plc.
“That if the Presidency approves of the utilization of the application by the chairman to utilise the Abuja-Orlando-Abuja airfare for an upcoming conference, we will consider the matter. However, if approval is refused the fund thereof should be returned to the Police Service Commission and ICPC so informed.”
It will be recalled that on 4 June, Okiro along with three other officers of the PSC was invited and quizzed by the ICPC officials over an alleged N275 million fraud at the commission.
On 25 May, a staff of the PSC, Aaron Kaase, had petitioned the ICPC, claiming that Okiro siphoned the said money out of the N350 million that was obtained by the commission from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to train PSC staff in the monitoring of the conduct of men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force during the concluded general elections that saw President Muhammadu Buhari coming back into power for a second time.
Kaase had claimed in his petition that Okiro had made bogus claims to train highly inflated number of his commission’s staff in Lagos, Abuja and Kano; trainings which he said were roughly carried out to a few staff in Mararaba, near Abuja.
Kaase revealed that Okiro siphoned the said amount claiming he would train 500 staff in Abuja, 200 in Lagos and another 200 in Kano when the combined staff strength of the commission nationwide is not more than 400.
He disclosed that in Kano where 200 staff are said to be trained, the staff strength is merely 10, accusing Okiro and his orderly, Todonu of claiming some millions of Naira for separate overseas trainings which they never attended.