Alleged Forgery: IG Writes Italian Groups, Accuses HEDA Chairman of Jumping Bail

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

The Nigeria Police have described as frivolous, claims by activist, Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA),

Olarenwaju Suraju, that the investigation report which accused him of cyberstalking, injurious falsehood and criminal defamation of former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke (SAN) was “fake.”

This clarification was contained in the police’ reply to a petition from two Italian groups, Re:Common and The Corner House dated October 14, 2021.

The groups on September 9, 2021, jointly petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IG), Alkali Usman following reports of the Monitoring Unit’s indictment of Suraju in respect of alleged leaked email and voicenote purportedly linking Adoke to one Aliyu Abubakar who was standing trial in Italy over alleged corruption in the OPL245 transaction between Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Shell and Eni.

In their letter, they raised concerns over alleged factual errors contained in the investigation report, alleging that the said report seemed fake and came out at a time investigations were still on.

They also faulted claims by the police unit that Suraju jumped bail, did not present himself when he was needed to clarify certain issues and also resorted to “frivolous” petitions and filing suit in court.

Confirming that the letter originated from the unit, its head, ACP Ibrahim Musa, stated that the Certified True Copy (CTC) was issued to Adoke based on a written request to the IG which was approved.

He maintained that the report was factual and borne out of painstaking investigation, chronicling steps taken by the police before the conclusion of investigation.

Musa maintained that HEDA was not a registered body at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), referencing a letter marked RGC/SU/VOL6/2021/02/75 dated 23rd July, 2021.

According to him, Suraju had earlier claimed to be chairman of HEDA only to allegedly recant on August 19 that his organisation was HEDA Resource Centre when the letter from CAC was shown to him.

Insisting that Suraju jumped bail, the police explained that on June 28, a phone call was made to him through the telephone number he provided on the statement form to invite him to report on July 7, in furtherance of the investigation.

According to Musa, “Olanrewaju Suraju acknowledged through a text message on the same day. However, on the 30th of June 2021, Olanrewaju Suraju before the scheduled date sent a text message to the IPO stating that the IG has directed the case to be transferred to Force Investigation Bureau (FIB), when there was no such directive, and upon this, he dishonoured the invitation while the complainant reported.

“Again, another text message rescheduling the interview to 8th of July, 2021 was sent to him, but he also failed to report citing inability to meet the cost of travelling from Lagos to Abuja.

“Upon his inability to attend the interview, one Barr. Oluwaseye Afolabi of Kunle Adegoke & Co. in a letter dated 12th July, 2021 addressed to the Head, IGP Monitoring Unit, requested for new date for the interview on the grounds that Olanrenwaju Suraju was ill and undergoing medical treatment, without attaching any medical proof. “On the strength of his counsel’s request, they were rescheduled for 19th of July, 2021 to report, and his surety one Ajene Isegbe was put on notice to produce him, but the suspect and his surety all failed to show up for the interview on the rescheduled date.

“That the failure of Olanrewaju and Surety to report despite several invitations necessitated the office to approach the court and obtained a warrant of arrest for the suspect’s

surety.

“Thereafter, detectives were dispatched to Lagos State on 22nd July, 2021 with a view to tracing and re-arresting Olanrewaju Suraju but on locating his verifiable address, investigators were informed by one Mr. Kolawale that Olanrenwaju Suraju, who is on police administrative bail had travelled abroad and there was no date of his return, without presenting any evidence.

“Upon this revelation, his surety was further mandated to produce him, but he failed. A letter of invitation dated 26th July, 2021 was addressed to the Director General, National Gallery of Arts, Federal Ministry of Information, requesting for the release of the surety- Ajene Abraham Isegbe- to interview the Head of the Unit on 2nd of August, 2021, for the offence of screening of an offender.

“He reported, his statement was recorded under words of caution. He revealed that the suspect deceived the police and himself, by stating that he was sick and in the hospital, while he was abroad.

“ Thereafter, the surety made an undertaking dated 3rd August, 2021 to produce him on the 5th of August, 2021 but failed again. He undertook to produce him on 10th August, 2021 and equally failed.

“That Olanrewaju Suraju rather than honour Police invitation at IGP Monitoring Unit and assist the investigation, resorted into writing a counter petition to DIG Force Criminal Investigation Department, and with the same unregistered “Human and Environmental Development Agenda and not with “HEDA Resource Centre”, filed a Suit No: 1D/11599MFHR2021 dated 23rd July, 2021 requesting the court to grant him an Exparte-Order restraining the Police invitation arrest.

On account of his prayers, he obtained the Ruling of Court and Enrolment Order given by Justice D. T. Olatokun of the High Court of Lagos State on the 6th of August, 2021 restraining the police for Seven days and same was with the name of “Human and Environmental Development Agenda and not “HEDA Resource Centre”.

“That on 19th of August, 2021, his Surety- Ajene Isegbe- produced him and his additional statement was recorded under words of caution. The surety-Ajene Isegbe- submitted a hand written letter dated 11th August, 2021, for withdrawal of his surety-ship on the premise that he cannot guaranty the appearance of the suspect at IGP monitoring Unit, thereafter one Oluseyi Fatuyi of Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning stood surety tor him on Police administrative bail.”

Continuing, Musa maintained that Suraju maligned the police on April 28, through press statement published online by claiming the force rather than investigate the facts, where evidence in the public domain would demonstrate the allegations in the complaint to be false, has resorted to harassment, intimidation intimidation doing the bidding of the complainant (Adoke), claims that were nonexistent.

The letter also dismissed allegations that the unit circumvented the IG by issuing the CTC to Adoke and also sending the duplicate casefile to the AGF for further action, stating that all actions taken were with the approval of the IG.

It said: “Upon conclusion of investigation, police investigation report dated 2nd September 2021 was submitted to the Inspector General of Police recommending that the duplicate casefile be forwarded to the office of the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, for further necessary action.

“ It was also recommended that the counter petition written by Olanrewaju Suraju be discarded because it is frivolous and lacks merit.

“The Inspector General of Police approved the recommendations and directed for strict compliance vide letter dated 17th September, 2021.

“Furthermore, the complainant Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, had in a letter dated 6th August, 2021 to the Inspector General of Police, applied for Certified True Copy of the Investigation Report and exhibits, and approval was conveyed vide Inspector General of Police letter dated 16th August, 2021.

“Hence a concise Certified True Copy of Police Investigation Report was issued to the applicant for record purpose only.

“From the above, it is evidently clear that your concerns outlined in paragraph 1-5 of your letter dated 9th September, 2021 to the

Inspector General of Police is as reported to you by Olanrewaju Suraju, which is in complete contrast to the factual findings of investigation.”