Ex-Police IG, Okiro, denies stealing N275m; says own aide set him up

From left: chairman, police service commission (psc), Mike Okiro; commissioner for media, south-east zone, Comfort Obi and Commissioner for women affairs, Aisha Tukur, at a news conference on the alleged N275 million election-monitoring fund's fraud rocking the PSC in Abuja
FILE PHOTO: From left: chairman, police service commission (psc), Mike Okiro; commissioner for media, south-east zone, Comfort Obi and Commissioner for women affairs, Aisha Tukur, at a news conference on the alleged N275 million election-monitoring fund's fraud rocking the PSC in Abuja

The Chairman, Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro, on Monday reacted to the allegation that he defrauded the commission of N275 million and vowed not to succumb to blackmail.

Mr. Okiri alleged that a staff of the commission, Aaron Kaase, of the Press Unit, colluded with a journalist to blackmail him with the allegation to collect N10 million.

The chairman, who spoke at a news conference in Abuja, said the commission received N350 million from the Federal Government to train its staff to monitor the conduct of police officers involved in the 2015 general elections.

Mr. Okiro had appeared before the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences on June 4, following a petition by Kaase that he embezzled N275 million belonging to the commission.

“I still believe that a clear conscience fears no accusation and I will not yield to blackmail no matter how long it takes to clear my name.

“I have nothing to fear,” he said.

According to Mr. Okiro, the commission received N350 million for election monitoring/conferences/training of the staff of the commission and deployed them to states to monitor police conduct during the general elections of 2015.

The chairman said the commission spent N217.3 million of the N350 million, leaving a balance of N132.6 million in the commission’s project account.

He, however, said that on April 2, he got a text message from the publisher that he was doing a story on the alleged fraud.

Mr. Okiro said that the publisher claimed to have sent the story to six other newspapers for publication and demanded N10 million to cover it up and save him of the embarrassment.

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Mr. Okiro quoted the publisher as threatening that “Gen. Buhari is coming to fight corruption, once the papers publish any such story against you (Okiro), he would remove you immediately”.

The chairman further alleged that the publisher, on April 8, sent his account details for the said N10 million to be paid into it to save him the embarrassment.

He said to stop the journalist from bothering him with the demand for the money, he invited and handed him over to the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

This, he said was after several calls and text messages from the journalist demanding the money.

“The result was mind boggling and depicted the comedy of errors. It was revealed that Mr. Aaron Kaase, my erstwhile Protocol Officer, wanted to wed in May and needed money.

“He (Kaase) felt the quickest way was to connive with the journalist to extort money from me so they could share it, and so he could conduct his traditional wedding.

“The journalist was brought to my office by the officer in charge of SARS and his officers.

“The journalist confronted Aaron Kaase in the presence of the commissioners, permanent secretary, directors and other management staff of the PSC,’’ he said.

According to Mr. Okiro, Mr. Kaase confirmed that he gave my phone number to the journalist to call and demand N10 million.

The chairman said Mr. Kaase’s suspension was done because Mr. Kaase was facing a criminal charge involving N1 million fraud.

He alleged that Mr. Kaase had been arrested and charged to court for allegedly defrauding someone of the money to secure for him a US visa which he failed to deliver.

Mr. Okiro said that Mr. Kaase’s suspension had nothing to do with the petition against him. (NAN)

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