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The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, appears to have landed in fresh crisis, following the revelations already made against him at a sitting of the Senate ad hoc committee investigating allegations raised by Senator Hamman Misau.
The IGP is scheduled to appear before the committee this week, but investigations by the Sunday Tribune indicate that the committee and some anti-graft agencies are already in possession of some documents linking the top cop with alleged mismanagement of some high-profile fraud cases, especially the one leading to the sudden transfer of a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Abdukyari Lafia from the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB) to the Police Academy, Kano.
The said Abdukyari was said to have busted a number of crime cases as the head of the intelligence bureau, including a $1 million fraud case over which he was said to have rejected a $100,000 bribe offer and also busted another N2.4 billion fraud case in Akwa-Ibom, said to be linked to some top politicians.
The DCP’s sudden transfer from the FIB to the Police Academy, Kano and the refusal of the IGP to release him to the Special
Investigation Panel (SIP) on the Recovery of Public Property, which made the request through a letter by its chairman, Mr. OkoiObno-Obla in September, were said to have opened a flurry of inquests into the IGP’s handling of the Abdukyari matter.
On September 20, a businessman, Mr. Austin Ugochukwu Albert, who was defrauded of $1m, addressed a press conference in Abuja, where he alleged that the IGP summarily withdrew his case which he said was being diligently handled by Abdukyari at FIB and transferred it to the IGP Monitoring Unit.
He said that the within weeks of the FIB intervention in the case, the suspects were arrested and a court order obtained to have them detained until investigation was concluded.
He claimed that the then head of FIB, Abdukyari, in the course of the investigation was offered $100,000 bribed by the suspect, but rejected it and went ahead to arrest the said suspect. He also said Abdukyari recovered the sum of $20,000 meant to be part payment for the bribe.
Albert at the briefing said he was surprised to see that at that stage the IGP ordered a takeover of the case by the Monitoring Unit, while the head of FIB was transferred.
He also stated that the case has now been muddled up and his hope of getting justice far remote.
However, the Police High Command has dismissed all the claims of the DCP. Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Moshood Jimoh told the Sunday Tribune in Abuja that DCP “is currently being investigated over the exhibit money under his custody and which he must account for in the interest of justice and fair play to the owner of the money and the image of the Nigeria Police Force.”
The FPRO, said that the matter over the allegation he was now raising had even been taken to court which had been struck out including the petition written by the counsel of the owner of the missing exhibit money.
On the transfer of the officer to the Police Academy, the FPRO said that posting and re-posting of personnel in the police is a routine exercise for optimum performance. He further stated that it would also appear that the police was covering one of their own of the officer was not moved out while the investigation was in progress.
The Force PPRO Jimoh had also on September 19 addressed the media on September 19, at which he explained that Abdukyari was transferred from the FIB because of an ongoing investigation into a $20,000 exhibit which the DCP could not account for.
Investigations revealed that the IGP has since issued a query to DCP Abdukyari for allegedly causing him embarrassment over the $1million probe.
It was gathered at the weekend that some anti-corruption agencies and the National Assembly already have the details of some of the memos going back and forth between the Police Academy, Kano and the IGP over the Abdukyari matter.
One of the memos in the system contained a detailed account of what transpired between the IGP and Abdukyari in respect of the investigation into a N2.4 billion fraud case involving certain personalities in Akwa Ibom State.
The memo written by Abdukyari to the IGP through the Commandant, Nigerian Police Academy, Wudil, Kano State read in part:
“The correct position of the facts of the case which the Force Public Relation’s Department seeks to distort is that, A Case of Corrupt Practices, Fraudulent Diversion and Misappropriation of Funds to the tune of two billion four hundred million naira (N2,400,000,000) by some past and present serving government officials of Akwa lbom State, was reported to the bureau by a whistle blower and was successfully investigated, the funds frozen and the suspects rounded up where they confessed to the crime and admitted using companies and proxies to conceal their criminality.
“It was during the pendency of the case at the FIB, under my supervision that one Alhaji Ibrahim, a close associate of yours, negotiated with a certain lady, without my knowledge or the knowledge of the Bureau for the bail of the suspects for a sum of 100,000 Dollars and was given a part payment of $40, 000 Dollars which he claimed to have given to me. On the weight of this information, l promptly ordered for the arrest of the said Alhaji Ibrahim who was known in some circles as not only your close associate but also as your ‘brother’. In the course of the investigation, he confessed committing the crime to the operatives of the FIB, who subsequently recovered the sum of twenty thousand Dollars ($20, 000) out of the forty thousand Dollars($40, 000) given to him by the lady to bribe me.
He further claimed to have given the other twenty thousand dollars ($20, 000) to one Alhaji Awwalu, who procured his services to be a go between in offering the bribe. In my insistence to get to the bottom of the case, I instructed the IPO to invite the lady to the station to enable operatives to obtain her statement for subsequent arraignment of the two suspects in a court of competent jurisdiction for the offences of criminal conspiracy to wit: offering gratification to a public officer in the lawful prosecution of his duty.
“This asserted so much pressure ‘on Alhaji Ibrahim who ran to you for protection if you may recall sir, on one fateful day in April 2017, you ordered Emmanuel Umar to summon me to your office. On getting to your office sir, I met Alhaji Ibrahim, one of your media consultants whose name I cannot readily remember now and Emmanuel Umar, where you instructed that l relay in his presence his role in the bribery scandal which I did to the hearing of the people present,” he stated.
Immediately I concluded, Alhaji Ibrahim responded and pleaded that he be forgiven. After so much pressure, from him and the other people present you forgave him and subsequently ordered that l suspend the investigation since you have forgiven him. At this point, he excused us where, as the chief of criminal intelligence, I, with respect, advised that you should not allow persons with questionable character associate with you or your office due to the sensitive nature of the office of the Inspector General of Police. Whatever role your monitoring unit played under your watch in sweeping the Akwa lbom State corruption case under the carpet will be known to the world if another anti-corruption agency independent of police control takes a second look at that case.
“Consequent upon this one Jika started mounting intense pressure on me to release the exhibit money to him, claiming that he is acting on behalf of the suspects (in the case of offering gratification to a public servant in the lawful prosecution of his duties).
“l explained to Jika that the offence is not that which is compoundable by the police but at any rate, I will need to clear from you to enable me act. “The same Jika revisited the issue of the release of the exhibit when he came to my office on the 8th of September 2017 which coincided with the date the one million dollars case was transferred and l was removed contrary to the claim by CSP Moshood Jimoh that l was removed because of the exhibit of the sum of twenty thousand dollars in a case already settled by the Attorney-General is untrue.
“The twenty thousand Dollars ($20,000) in question was the money offered to me as bribe which I recovered and registered as exhibit. It is this money that the IGP wants me to return the suspects who are close associates of yours Sir, thus effectively destroying the rest of the case.
“In view of the foregoing, l sought clearance from you in writing to release the exhibit to Jika which you declined in writing, which as a seasoned Police Officer, felt that it was the right thing not to oblige such request albeit to mention here that the money in question is proceed of crime and the law is trite in this instant case that proceeds of bribe are never returned to the offerer of the bribe.
“The Police are not under the law bestowed with the powers to release the money to the suspect under whatever guise. Proceeds of bribe are usually paid to government coffers except if the case falls flat before a competent court of trial.
“On the issue of competency (sic), professionalism, and incorruptibility, l make bold to say with due respect to you sir that my track records speak for itself. For instance in the Two Billion Four Hundred and Thirteen Million Naira (N2,413,000,000) Akwa‘ lbom fraud case, I rejected an offer of bribe of the sum of Three Hundred Million Naira (N300,000,000), Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) and unspecified amount of dollars by a top politician in the state.
“I also turned down an offer of ten million Naira (10,000,000) bribe in a case of unlawful possession of prohibited firearms where operatives from the Force Intelligence Bureau (FIB), under my command recovered seven magnum guns. This singular feat earned me and the FCIlD commendation by the former president of Nigeria Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo who placed a call through Retired DIG Akanu and commended my professionalism and that of the FCIlD.
“This display of discipline, professionalism and incorruptibility by me culminated in your directives to DIG Hycent Dagala to recommend me for a special promotion from the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police to the prestigious rank of the Commissioner of Police which you approved and forwarded to the Police Service Commission for consideration. A recommendation which you later withdrew for reasons best known to you.”