- Mike Okiro just pardoned, reinstated before retiring former CP Zakari Biu dismissed for helping Boko Haram terror mastermind Kabiru Sokoto to escape
by Ben Ezeamalu
Two civil society groups have petitioned the Presidential Advisory Council on Anti-Corruption over the failure of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to prosecute Mike Okiro, the chairman of the Police Service Commission.
The Civil Society Network Against Corruption and the Network on Police Reform in Nigeria, in a petition dated September 2, called for the immediate recall of Aaron Kaase, the Police Service Commission official who petitioned the ICPC over Mr. Okiro’s alleged corrupt practices.
“For daring to report the corrupt practices of Mr. Okiro, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission deliberately refused to direct that Mr. Kaase be recalled from suspension for exposing the corrupt practices of the PSC chairman,” the groups said in a joint statement signed by Olanrewaju Suraju and Okechukwu Nwanguma.
Last month, following Mr. Kaase’s petition, the ICPC released a report which revealed that Mr. Okiro, a former police Inspector General, collected N350 million to train 900 PSC staff, whereas the staff strength of the body is 391.
The money was also meant to cover physical monitoring of police personnel during the last general election.
In their investigation, the ICPC discovered that the Mr. Okiro-led Police Service Commission held training of staff only in Abuja whereas they were paid for trainings in Abuja, Lagos, and Kaduna.
The PSC was also found to have paid travelling allowances to all staff, including those based in Abuja, who participated in the training programme held within the Federal Capital Territory.
“Air tickets 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,” the ICPC stated in its report dated August 6.
“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 Mr. Okiro to remit N133 million of the N350 million he received for staff training and election monitoring to the ICPC recovery account at First City Monument Bank.
The ICPC further directed Abuja-based PSC staff who were paid two-way return tickets and airport taxi fares to locations within the FCT and surrounding states during election monitoring exercise to refund N11.75 million.
Despite repeated calls by civil society organizations for the prosecution of Mr. Okiro, the ICPC had stuck to its recommendations, insisting that there was no act of criminal infraction against the PSC Chairman as all the outlined issues “are administrative in nature and within the ambits of career public servants handling.”