The invitation for questioning of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund (NPTF), Suleiman Abba and five others by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) may soon have a new twist as top government office holders are pushing to have the matter swept under the carpet.
SaharaReporters earlier published a report, along with documents showing the ICPC had invited the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the NPTF, Abba and five others over fraudulent activities, including alleged procurement of substandard equipment by the NPTF for the police.
Abba is also a former Inspector-General of Police.
The information is 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.
According to the letter titled, ‘Investigation Activities: Letter of Invitation Pursuant to Section 28(1(A-B) of ICPC Act 2000’, the anti-graft agency is asking the former IGP and others to appear before it between Monday, September 13 and Thursday, September 16, 2021.
A copy of the letter obtained by SaharaReporters on Saturday revealed that they will be investigated for alleged violation of the provisions of the ICPC Act No. 5 of 2020.
The ICPC has been investigating alleged procurement of substandard equipment by NPTF officials.
DOCUMENTS: Former @PoliceNG Inspector-General, Suleiman Abba, Others Invited By Anti-graft Commission For Grilling Over Fraud In Nigeria Police Trust Fund | Sahara Reporters https://t.co/ilyAFp65Z5 pic.twitter.com/jvsGswUn2f— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) September 12, 2021
In the letter obtained by SaharaReporters, those invited for questioning are identified as: IGP Suleiman Abba (rtd), Board Chairman; Mrs Victoria Ojogbane, Director, Legal Services; Alhaji Yahaya Mohammed, Director, Planning, Research and Statistics; Mr. Lawal Gunjunju, Director, Finance and Account; Mr. Salihu Abubakar, Special Assistant, Technical; Dr. Fred Femi Akinfala, Director, Human Resources and General Services; Mr. Ben Akabueze, Board Member; and Engr. Mansur Hammed, Board Member.
Akabueze is the Director-General, Budget Office of the Government of Nigeria. He was before now the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning in Lagos State in the administration of Babatunde Fashola.
However, a top source on Sunday told SaharaReporters that the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence and Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Aliyu Wamakko have been making moves to ensure the matter is swept under the carpet because of their relationship with some of the invited persons.
According to the source, as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, Senator Wamakko, also a former Governor of Sokoto State, has forged a relationship with the heads of the country’s anti-graft agencies and knows how to lean on them for favours.
“I understand that Senator Wamakko, who was the governor of Sokoto State and the vice chairman of the committee on anti-corruption and financial crimes, which oversees the ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has promised to kill the matter.
“I also understand that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) has also spoken to the chairman of the ICPC (Prof Bolaji Owasanoye) to mellow the thing down (soften the commission’s stance on the alleged fraud),” the source said.
It was discovered that some of the equipment the NPTF recently donated to the police was inferior.
The NPTF had recently donated operational vehicles and other equipment worth N11 billion to the police as the NPTF for the training and retraining of police personnel.
Some of the said equipment included 640 bullet proof vests, 120 buffalo vans, and 190 ballistic helmets but the equipment was said to be substandard.
For instance, it was learnt that the bullet proof vests are supposed to have resistant shields in the front and back but they only have protective shields in the front. Therefore, the bullet proofs will fail to effectively protect police personnel during shoot-outs with criminal elements like Boko Haram terrorists, bandits or robbers.
In the letter obtained by SaharaReporters, the ICPC specifies the different times each of the six invited persons is expected to come in for questioning.
The former IGP, Suleiman is expected to come in for questioning at exactly 1pm on Thursday, September 16, 2021; Ojogbane is expected in by 10am on Monday, September 13, 2021; Mohammed is expected in by 1pm on Monday, September 13, 2021, while Gunjunju is expected in the ICPC office for questioning by 10am on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
Also, Abubakar is expected in for questioning by 1pm on Tuesday, September 14, 2021; Akinfala is expected in by 10am on Wednesday, September 15, 2021; Akabueze is expected in by 1pm on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 while Hammed is expected in by 10am on Thursday, September 16, 2021.
The letter read, “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 takeoff grant and capital, copies of staff nominal roll, comprehensive list of staff on transfer, posting and secondment. 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."