•Procurement of 640 sub-standard bullet proofs, 120 ballistic helmets, 120 buffalo fans under investigation
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Barely a year after the coming into existence of the fund, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), has commenced investigation into the procurement of sub-standard equipment, part of the N11 billion equipment donated to the Nigeria Police by the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF).
The anti-graft agency, in a letter of invitation to the fund, requested the Board Chairman of the fund and former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleman Abba and five others to appear before the commission over alleged procurement of sub-standard equipment by the NPTF, which was donated to the police.
The fund had recently sought approval of N74billion budget from the National Assembly.
The invitation to the officials of the intervention agency was contained in a letter dated September 6, 2021, addressed to the Executive Secretary of the NPTF and signed by the Director of Operations of the ICPC, Akeem Lawal.
The letter titled, ‘Investigation Activities: Letter of Invitation Pursuant to Section 28(1(A-B) of ICPC Act 2000’, the agency invited the officials to appear before it between Monday, September 13, and Thursday, September 16, 2021.
The officials invited by the commission included Board Chairman and former IG, Suleiman Abba (rtd); Director, Legal Services, Mrs Victoria Ojogbane; Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed; Director, Finance and Account, Mr. Lawal Gunjunju; Special Assistant, Technical, Mr. Salihu Abubakar; and Dr. Fred Femi Akinfala, Director, Human Resources and General Services as well as Board members, Mr. Ben Akabueze and Mansur Hammed, Board Member. Akabueze is also the DG, Budget office.
The bullet proof, expected to possess resistant shields on two sides, was only effective on one, which was incapable of protecting police personnel in a possible shootout with criminals.
It was gathered that they would be investigated for alleged violation of the provisions of the ICPC Act No. 5 of 2020.
According to the letter, the former police chief, Abba, is expected to appear for questioning at exactly 1pm on Thursday, September 16, 2021.
Ojogbane is expected at the commission by 10am on Monday, September 13, 2021 while Mohammed is due to appear by 1pm on Monday, September 13, 2021.
Gunjunju is billed to appear for questioning by 10am on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
Others include Abubakar by 1pm on Tuesday, September 14, 2021; Akinfala, 10am on Wednesday, September 15, 2021; Akabueze by 1pm on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 while Hammed is expected in by 10am on Thursday, September 16, 2021.
“Similarly, the invited staff is to come with the following documents as applicable to their office and schedule as well as the original copies for sighting.
“Copies of all payment vouchers for overhead, recurrent and capital for year 2020 and 2021, copies of all contract agreement for contracts awarded from the take-off grant and capital, copies of staff nominal roll, comprehensive list of staff on transfer, posting and secondment”, the letter read.
The ICPC also demanded the “vote for take-off grant, breakdown of all spending and approvals, print-out of ledger vote and spending, all no objection certificate from Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
“Evidence of BPP clarification on contract award, financial limit and thresholds, procurement methods and threshold of application and expenditure as related to NPTF.
“They are also expected to come with any of the following: a lawyer, Justice of Peace, Staff of the Legal Aid Council or any individual of their choice. Accept the assurances of the Commission’s highest regards, please.”
The spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, confirmed the invitation in a chat with THISDAY.
When contacted, spokesperson of the NPTF, and Chief Supretendent of Police, Olabisi Okwuobi, confirmed the invitation too but denied the donation of N11 billion equipment to police.
“On the invitation of the Chairman, it is confirmed but there are two parties to an investigation: a witness or, and a suspect either to confirm or give otherwise testimony. It is not good to preempt the investigation,” he said.