Two and a half years after investigations allegedly indicted former Police Inspector-General and Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Mr. Mike Okiro, for alleged fraud at the commission; and three days after calls for his removal by an anti-corruption group, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), another group has cautioned the presidency against removing him or tinkering with the board of the PSC.
The HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari not to be stampeded or hoodwinked by political forces to commit the illegality of dissolving the governing board of police service commission (PSC).
HURIWA’s warning followed CSNAC’s petition to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha asking that Mr. Okiro, be stopped from parading about as head of the Police Commission.
HURIWA in a written presentation submitted Wednesday ruled out the legal validity of the so-called dissolution of the police service commission’s board as insinuated by the Lagos Non-governmental group, submitting that constitutionally the presidency has no power to dissolve a board recognized in the constitution and whose statutory tenure will run till June 2018.
Asking President Buhari not to be dragged into another unnecessary constitutional crisis by the misguided and misdirected petition against the Mike Okiro – led police commission, the Rights group cited several sections of the Nigerian constitution to unambiguously establish that political dissolution of boards of certain Federal Executive Commissions listed in chapter 6 of the constitution including PSC, is legally null and void and of no consequence.
CSNAC had in its petition to the SGF stated thus: “It is with grave concern that the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) view the contemptuous disregard of the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari as conveyed by your office on the 29th December 2017, dissolving the board of Police Service Commission (PSC) among others, headed by retired Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mike Okiro, by his continued stay in office and performing functions of the office despite the composition of a new board”.
But HURIWA sent a counter position paper to President Buhari through the office of the secretary to the government of the federation and argued that contrary to the position of CSNAC, Mr. Okiro – led board of PSC can’t be arbitrarily dissolved but the constitutional tenure of 5 years will elapsed in June 2018
CSNAC had referred to a petition to ICPC by Mr. Aaron Kaase, a staff of PSC.
Wrote CSNAC: “On 6 August 2015, during the time of your predecessor, the ICPC came out with findings based on a petition sent to it by a whistleblower, Mr. Aaron Kaase. In the said report, the ICPC came out with findings of its detailed investigation, which indicted Mr. Mike Okiro in all ramifications based on provisions of the ICPC Act, Procurement Act 2007 and other laws violated, but curiously stated it found no criminal infraction on the person of Mr. Okiro.”
“ICPC findings confirmed that the PSC budgeted and collected money for the training of 900 non-existent staff, but trained only 391 being the actual number of staff, thereby deceiving the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) that provided the funds and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE) to obtain a fraudulent approval to expend the funds.”
“We urge you to apply the provision of the ICPC Act against the above-mentioned infraction on Mr.Okiro. The ICPC report ordered the PSC to return N133.4 million, being a violation of Section 16 of the ICPC Act, which prescribes a maximum of seven years in jail for any officer charged with the receipt, custody, use or management of public revenue or property that makes false statement or return in respect money or property entrusted in his care.
“We urge you to invoke provisions of this Act and prosecute Mr. Okiro accordingly. We further urge you to confirm to us if the said money has been returned to the ICPC recovery account as directed,”
CSNAC was impressed with the ICPC decision to prosecute Emmanuel Ibe, PSC’s Director Administration and Finance, for his complicity in the alleged fraud, but added that it would be incomplete without Okiro’s prosecution.