The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission has been petitioned by the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre to release the findings of the investigation into the alleged mismanagement of the Nigeria Police Trust Fund by its management, citing the Freedom of Information Act of 2011.
In September 2021, a number of news outlets reported on an alleged scandal involving the mismanagement of Nigeria Police Trust Fund funds, violations of the NPTF Act and public procurement procedures, and the management of the NPTF’s purchase of subpar equipment for the Nigeria Police Force.
The Chairman of the PTF Board of Trustees, a former Inspector General of Police, Abba Suleiman, was reported to have testified before the ICPC investigators as a witness, during which he made startling revelations of fraud, abuse of due process, and mismanagement of the PTF funds by the management.
The chairman was also quoted to have denied knowledge of the procurement process undertaken by the management. He disclosed that the management of the NPTF had been frustrating him from resuming work with his staff at the office provided by the Nigeria Police Force.
The PTF management was also accused of procuring substandard equipment for the Nigeria Police and a former Deputy Governor, who is a serving Senator eyeing re-election in 2023, and a Minister were fingered in the substandard equipment purchase.
Among the alleged substandard equipment were bulletproof vests, helmets and operational vehicles.
It was revealed that the bulletproof vests that ought to possess double-sided shields were found to only possess a shield on one side while the helmets were too small and the Toyota Buffalo vehicles procured were largely substandard.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had on January 13, 2022, been allegedly misled into commissioning the alleged substandard police equipment comprising 200 Buffalo Toyota operational vehicles and other equipment purchased by the PTF for the police through alleged contract fraud while the investigation by the ICPC was still ongoing.
This act, considered both prejudicial and subversive of the federal government’s touted fight against corruption, prompted a coalition of over 200 civil society organisations and activists across Nigeria under the umbrella of CSO-PTF Support and Oversight Group, in demonstration of their commitment to promoting transparency and accountability in the implementation of the NPTF Act, condemned the President’s decision to commission the substandard equipment while the investigation was still ongoing.
The CSO-PTF Support and Oversight Group also called on the ICPC to speed up and conclude its investigation and make its findings public.
A statement by the Executive Director, RULAAC, Okechukwu Nwanguma, read in part, “It is close to years after the scandal broke, and nearly one year after the ICPC started its investigation of the alleged crimes, yet the public is yet to know where the anti-corruption agency is with regards to its investigation.
“Sadly, this is despite the repeated calls from many quarters for diligence and periodic update regarding the progress of the investigation even after the management and Board members of the PTF appeared before ICPC and made statements or gave evidence before the investigating team.
“The purpose of establishing the PTF under the law was to provide an additional window for police funding with a view to addressing perennial underfunding of the lead security agency in the country. Specifically, the PTF was designed to provide the NPF with modern, state-of-the-art operational equipment, training and welfare and thereby promote professionalism, boost morale and enhance police effectiveness in discharging their constitutional mandates of providing safety and security.
“Diversion or mismanagement of the PTF fund should therefore be treated with the seriousness it deserves as an act of sabotage that undermines national security.
“It was not our expectation that the PTF will be run down the same way its precursor, the Police Equipment Fund set up by President Obasanjo and headed by Kenny Martins was run down and the enormous funds accumulated through the fund frittered away.
“RULAAC, for the umpteenth time, is calling on the ICPC to make the report of its investigation public in the spirit of transparency and accountability.”
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