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Contracts Scandal Rocks Police Service Commission

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Chairman, Musiliu Smith

A commissioner in the Police Service Commission (PSC), Muhammad Naja’atu, has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged corrupt practices at the commission.

Naja’atu has accused the Commission’s Chairman and former Inspector-General of Police, Musliu Smith, of a multi-million naira contract scam, mismanagement of resources, and lack of due process in the management of the commission.

In the petition dated June 29, 2022, the commissioner, who is representing North-West in the commission, alleged that the chairman arbitrarily awarded bogus contracts without following due process.

Naja’atu noted that the management committee responsible for approving expenditures, especially of capital nature only met twice since its inauguration in 2018.

“The Management Committee is akin to the Federal Executive Council where government expenditures are approved. Sections 12, 13, and 14 of the Commission provide for the funds and expenditure of the Commission.

“However, since we came in as Commissioners four years ago, management meeting has only been held twice.

“The Chairman of the Commission does not have any power to single-handedly approve of any expenditure for and on-behalf of the Commission except as has been approved by the Management that has the Chairman as the head,” she added.

A part of the petition read: “On 11th May 2022, without the Management Committee approval, the Chairman awarded or caused to be awarded a contract and paid the sum of N34,749,375 “being payment of 50% down payment made to EMPLUG LTD for the design and development of police e-recruitment portal for the Commission….

“The contract was awarded regardless of a memo stating clearly that the ICT Department designed the website free of charge and has the capability for upgrade. Yet, due to the fraudulent intentions embedded in the decision, a contract was awarded to do the same thing that the ICT department has already done.

“Another contract payment of major concern is the payment of N36,228,453.90 to Wedewood Integrated Investment Limited as the final payment of less than 5% retention fee for the partitioning of office space, installation of wall panel and customised cabinet at the PSC head office building.

“The total sum of this contract paid to the contractor is N447,473,613.00 without due process or management approval. The payment voucher is attached as Annexure 17.”

She further alleged that: “From the Commission’s account No.2994350018 fraudulent transfers of about N200 million were made to Vita Construction between 9th April 2021 and 14th April 2021 in the tranches of N10 million.

“These payments are typical of the fraud being perpetuated. The reason for the payment are unknown to the management of the Commission as no approval for payment was given by the management for this expense.

“In your investigation, you will request for the contract executed by this company for the Commission to justify such payments and review the process through which the contract was awarded.

“From the same approval that paid Ogo Edward, a staff of the Commission N7,000,000.00 for the procurement of COVID-19 Protective items, approval was also given and he was paid the sum of N25,000,000.00 for security and other related matter in respect of 2020 Police Recruitment Medical Screening Exercise.

“It must be noted that security coverage is provided by the various Police Commands or Zonal Commands for all Police Recruitment and the associated exercises.

“The question that the Chairman and the Permanent Secretary need to answer is when did it become the responsibility of the Commission to provide security for these exercises.”

Naja’atu further revealed how Smith approved N32 million as Duty Travel Allowance (DTA) payment into a single staffer’s account.

“On 26th April 2022, the Chairman approved or caused to be approved and paid the sum of N32,132,500 to William Alo, a staff member of the commission, purportedly as payment for DTA for him and others to attend Nigeria Police Department Selection Board Exercise 2022.

“This payment is just a scam. For such duty, if actually undertaken, the beneficiaries would be paid through their individual salary accounts through IPPS. The monies are not paid to one single individual.

“In your investigation, you will request justification for the payment of this money to the individual who should also submit his account for scrutiny and explain how he paid all the listed beneficiaries,” she added.

Continuing, the commissioner said: “On the 10th of November 2021, without the Commission’s Management approval, the Chairman approved or caused to be approved and paid a staff member of the commission the sum of N15,400,000.00 for journalist honorarium, venue and entertainment and media report coverage for medical screening in the 36 states and FCT in respect of 2020 Police Recruitment Exercise.

“This expense does require the Commission’s Management approval as it ought to have been given as a contract to a media consultant, but it was yet another scam devised by the chairman and his fellow scammers to defraud the commission using the 2020 Police Recruitment Exercise as their justification, it was paid to a staff as ADVANCE Payment”.

The commissioner further alleged that office of the Auditor-General had in April 2022 drew the attention of the commission to many infractions in the conduct of its day to day activities.

Some of the grey areas include inappropriate contracting, execution, and payments of N104,495,040 for IT projects without consultations with NITDA; payment without interim certificate, request for payment, contract acceptance, and tax identification number to the tune of N159,330,044.12; payment of mobilisation fee above 15 per cent contract sum of 91,999,675.69; unverified items supplied in the store at N34 million, among other infractions.

In her prayers, the commissioner urged the EFCC to investigate the allegations, stressing that those found wanting should be made to face the full wrath of the law.

“Mr chairman as an individual, I have done my part by reporting and laying out details, supported with evidential proof, the fraud that is going on at the PSC and I demand, as a stakeholder in the Nigerian State, that these allegations be subjected to thorough investigation and those found culpable be subjected to the greatest punishment permissible limit of the law,” she said.

PSC spokesman, Ikechukwu Ani, confirmed the receipt of the petition by the commission, but declined further comment on its state.

“We are looking at the content of the petition vis-a-vis what we have in the commission. I will get back to you when we have a press statement on it because we are still looking at it,” he said.

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