The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission yesterday grilled a former Inspector General of Police and Chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro, over fraud related allegations.
Okiro, who was dressed in an ash coloured Niger Delta attire, arrived at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja in a black Toyota Land Cruiser Jeep, with registration number T 98 01 FG (PSC) and moved into the investigation department of the ICPC at about 9:51am in company of his Chief Accountant, Bisala A. A., Ibeh E. C; and George Todonu, his police orderly.
Two others – Bello B. and Raymond Imiobo – later arrived the ICPC headquarters at about 11:30am, in connection with the investigation.
This followed the invitation by officials of the anti-graft agency over a petition sent to it by the Principal Admin Officer (Press and Public Relations Unit) of the PSC, Aaron Kaase.
Kaase alleged that Okiro extensively defrauded the Police Service Commission.
Okiro was, however, granted administrative bail as he left the anti-graft agency at about 4:10pm.
The petition was titled: “Petition against Sir (Dr) Mike Mbama Okiro, Chairman, Police Service Commission for corruption, abuse and fraudulent act to swindle the Police Service Commission to the tune of N275,525,000.”
Kaase said the petition was based on his findings and concern as a citizen of Nigeria and staff of the Police Service Commission, whose civic responsibility amongst others includes fighting corruption in our society.
He said: “As a build up to the 2015 General Elections, the Police Service Commission relying on provisions of its establishment Act, sought for and obtained the sum of N350,000,000.00 from the National Security Adviser (NSA) purportedly to train her staff in Monitoring the conduct of the Nigeria Police in the concluded General Election.
“With the funds in hand of the Commission, as statutorily required, the Commission
sought for approval to use same vide two letters to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) with Ref No.PSC:1499/VOL/111/138 dated March 12 and received on March 19,2015, the Commission requested for the issuance of “No objection” to adopt selective tendering Method for the training of Commission staff on Monitoring of Police conduct during the 2015 general elections.
“The Chairman of the Commission quoted the prices for the training as follows: Abuja (Abuja staff) 500 participants, awarded to Bobec & Associates at N95.3 million; Kano staff (200 participants) awarded to Direct Knowledge Consult Limited at N95 million and Lagos staff, 200 participants awarded to Tzone Communications Ltd at N85 million.”
Kaase, in his petition, stated that the entire Police Service Commission’s staff are not up to 400.
“It is also a fact that the commission has no office in Lagos and the entire South West. It is also a fact that the Commission has less than 10 members of staff in Kano,” he said.
The petitioner further accused the commission’s chairman of fraudulently deceiving the Bureau of Public Procurement to obtain an approval for his scam on March 23, 2015 with reference No.BPP/S.I/15/VOL.1/050 to carry out the fraud.
It was further alleged that Okiro also collected N4.6 million as first class ticket to travel to the United States of America in 2013 without doing so.
Kaase added: “An example was when he collected the sum of N3,601,000.00, his Police orderly, Inspector George Todonu, collected the sum of N1,131,000.60, to attend the conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police from 25th-28th October, 2014 in Orlando, Florida USA, which held in Dublin, Ireland on the 28th of October, 2014, which held at the same time without attending none.”
It was also alleged that Okiro used his personal aides “as front to collect DTA and other allowances”.
Those mentioned were SP Ibitomi, CSP Peter Opara and other Special Assistants.
He allegedly used them to collect over N2 million as Duty Tour Allowance during the March 28 and April 12, 2015 general elections.
Meanwhile, Kaase, the petitioner, who said his life has been threatened after sending out the petition, also alleged that at a meeting held on June 2, 2015 in his office, Okiro was said to have been jittery and shaking.
He also instructed Kaase to withdraw the said petition, retract the publications in the media and forward a written apology to him in order to lift the suspension placed on him.
Sources within ICPC has said that the commission was going to do a thorough and painstaking job in getting to the bottom of the weighty allegations as the issues being raised were not ones to be rushed.
Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow
The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.
Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.
$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others
The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.
Business2 days ago
CBN Opens N500,000 Grants Portal For Graduates, Undergraduates
Business4 days ago
Crude Hits Seven-Year High On Recovery Hope … Equity Rally Runs Out
Business4 days ago
Cooperative Firm Wants Self Dev Of Enterpreneurs
Business4 days ago
Financial Institution Commits To Financing Trade, SMEs
Business4 days ago
CBN Credits Boost In Services Sector To Finance, Insurance
Business4 days ago
FG Lauds NCC On Digital Skills Empowerment
Business4 days ago
Osinbajo Wants More Stakeholders’ Involvement In Blue Economy … Inaugurates Committee
Business4 days ago
SMEs Decry Loans Delay, Business Setback