An anti-graft group, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption, CSNAC, has urged Nigeria’s federal government to rise to the rescue of a staff of the Police Service Commission, PSC, Aaron Kaase, who it alleged is being persecuted for blowing the whistle on alleged corruption at the commission.
Mr. Kaase, whose action the group said led to the recovery of N133million at the PSC, has been on suspension without pay since May 2015 and is also facing trial on what the group called “trumped up charges”.
In a letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, the group also demanded action on the report of the whistle blower, as well as the suspension of a director at the PSC who it said is already facing trial over the alleged corruption.
The group said it had forwarded a petition signed by its chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, to the PSC over the issue, in which it called for the suspension the Director of Administration and Finance in the PSC, Emmanuel Ibe, and the reinstatement of Mr. Kaase.
CSNAC said the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, had on Wednesday, February 22 arraigned Mr. Ibe, before Justice C.N Oji of the FCT high court on a nine-count charge bordering on fraud.
“Mr Ibe was alleged to have paid N11.750 million to some select staff of PSC in March 2015 as airfare and airport taxi allowance to travel to seven states within Nigeria on official duties, even while there were no connecting flights from Abuja to these states, thereby contravening Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and other offences Act 2000 and punishable under the same section.
“Commendable as the action of the ICPC is, we are gravely concerned that the said Emmanuel Ibe is still at his official desk, a situation which we anticipate may facilitate his use of his office to interfere with investigation and destroy evidences,” the group stated in the petition.
CSNAC said Mr. Kaase, “who alerted the government to this fraud”, was being persecuted based on his petition and has been arraigned in court “on trumped up charges for his patriotism and bravery”.
“Based on the aforementioned”, CSNAC urged government to “direct the immediate interdiction of Mr Emmanuel Ibe from work as Director Administration and Finance of PSC to enable ICPC carry out unhindered investigation and prosecution.
“Direct the ICPC to in the interest of justice prosecute others indicted by the ICPC report, particularly Mr Mike Okiro, the Chairman of the Commission and the main culprit in the petition and the ICPC report.
“Direct the Police Service Commission to immediately reinstate the whistle blower, Mr. Aaron Kaase to his duties post and all his outstanding salaries, allowances, promotion and other benefits due to him paid.”
The group stressed that such steps would “not only encourage would be whistleblowers under the latest government whistleblowers policy, but will also rekindle citizens’ confidence and partnership with government in the fight against corruption”.