Retired Inspector-General of Police Mr. Mike Okiro, hit the nail on the head over the hullabaloo regarding the N275.5million election fund fraud. He asserted that the whole scheme was an attempt to blackmail him.
It is difficult to fault the genuine accounts of Mr. Okiro on this matter when he asserted, at a press conference, in Abuja on June 8, 2015, that “the PSC spent N217.3million of the money and that the remaining N132.6 million was returned to the commission’s project account”. Mr. Aron Kaase, a Principal Administrative Officer, had claimed, in his petition to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), that “the money was part of the N350 million collected by the PSC for monitoring conferences and training of staff ahead of the March/April general election”. As any rational mind must be able to attest, an Okiro-led PSC out to defraud the government would not have left a balance of the money in a special account of the PSC. If the intention was to embezzle public funds, the N132.6million, left in a special account of the PSC, would have ended up in the private bank accounts of Mr. Okiro and other high officials of the PSC. Again, Mr. Okiro made the point that “because the approval from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) came late, we were able to conduct only one-day training, and the PSC staff were paid their allowances and Daily Travelling Allowance (DTA) for the exercise and their entitlements for the journey to the states for the monitoring”. Mr. Kaase had said “that instead of the four-day approval granted by the Bureau of Public Procurement, a mock training of two hours was conducted at Northgate Hotels Limited, Mararaba, Nasarawa State instead of Kano State”. However, an objective appraisal of the two positions stated here shows that while Okiro is right, Mr. Kaase is wrong. If approval for the trainings were granted only a few days to the Presidential and National Assembly elections, was it still feasible to conduct a four day training exercise? Of course, it does not take any superior intellect to appreciate the fact that the only reason a balance of N132.6 million was left in a special account of the PSC was because a four-day training exercise was reduced to one. In any case, what point did Mr. Kaase set out to make when he claimed that “Okiro has failed to refund the money granted for the other three days in his request letter?” If, as things are becoming clearer by the day that there is a N132.6 million balance from the N350 million in a special project account of the PSC, what kind of money refund is Mr. Kaase talking about? Is Mr. Okiro expected to refund monies already paid to the contracting firms to conduct the one-day training exercise? Is Mr. Okiro required to repay the funds he had already deployed to paying for the allowances and DTA of the PSC staff who travelled to the states to monitor police performance, during the 2015 general elections? What really is the problem for which Mr. Okiro is being antagonised by Mr. Kaase? In the final analysis, the point just has to be made that Mr. Kaase’s tantrums against Mr. Okiro, in the name of idle petitions to the ICPC and the EFCC, over the alleged mismanagement of the sum of N350 million, remains a failed blackmailing scheme. There is nothing in the petitions against Mr. Okiro that should warrant the ICPC and the EFCC wasting their scarce resources in the name of investigating the mismanagement of funds earlier earmarked for training monitors and monitoring of police officers engaged for the 2015 general elections. Mr. Okiro was being charitable, to a fault, when he wasted precious time and energy he ought to have deployed to the service of the nation, as the Chairman of the PSC, to granting an unnecessary press conference expected to counter the mischievous concoctions of Mr. Kaase.
SOURCE: Daily Independent.