*Sharing formula of proceeds from fraudulent purchase of substandard equipment led to petition
*Ex-IGP Abba testifies as witness, opens can on worms
*AGF, Malami warned management against flouting NPTF Act
*Former dep gov/serving senator eyeing 2023, minister fingered in sub-standared equipment purchase
By Kingsley Omonobi
Following the invitation of Management staff of the Nigerian Police Trust Fund (NPTF), by ICPC over investigations into the N11 billion sub standard equipment fraudulent purchase for the Nigerian Police, it has emerged that in-fighting among management staff over sharing formula of money acquired from the contract led to the petition.
Sources disclosed that while some management staff were allegedly given between N3 million and N5 million as their share of the proceeds that came out, some were said to have gotten between N7 million and N8 million prompting underground agitation.
Meanwhile, former Inspector General of Police and Chairman NPTF Board, IGP Suleiman Abba, retd, appeared before the ICPC investigation team as a witness and disclosed that the management of the Police Trust Fund solely went about the procurement of the sub-standared equipment without his knowledge while doing everything possible to frustrate both him and his staff from resuming work at the office provided for them by the Nigerian Police Force.
“In all my interactions with the management, I always start my address by harping on transparency and due process. But the management took responsibility of such important operational equipment without my knowledge. They went about this gross anomally with support of the Bureau for Public Procurement and the Ministry of Police Affairs took responsibility,” the ex-IGP told Vanguard.
“The truth of the matter is that the Federal government meant well by creating this Trust Fund to improve the Nigerian Police Force. We came in here to do our best to improve the state of equipment and training for the Force. But people with a mindset of enriching themselves hijacked the process. They virtually told me to hands off.”
“I have gone to the ICPC as a witness. I have given my testimony. I told them I am not a party to how the take off grant for the NPTF was spent. I have not been paid a Kobo for the work I have done so far including visiting Lagos and other places to ascertain the state of dilapidation in Police personnel accommodation.”
“They circumvented all efforts by myself as Chairman of the board to do the right thing hiding under some circular that had nothing to do with operations of the NPTF which is guided by the NPTF Act of 2019, which was even pointed out by the Attorney General of the federation”.
Asked what he was expecting as outcome from the ICPC investigation, Abba said: “Let us wait and see. Let us not pre-empt them”
The NPTF Act in Section 4, states that the Fund shall consist of ”An amount consisting 0.5% of the total revenue accruing to the Federation Account; ”A levy of 0.0005% of the net profit of companies operating businesses in Nigeria and ” Any take-off grant and special intervention fund as may be provided by the federal, state and local government of the federation among others.
Section 11 states, the Board of Trustees is responsible for ”Setting out the policies and programmes for the training and training of personnel of the Nigerian Police Force and it’s auxiliary staff in Nigeria and abroad in accordance with objective of the Act.
”Approving the disbursement of money from the Trust Fund to finance projects or activities of the Nigerian Police Force and Police Institutions beneficiaries of the Proceeds of Trust Fund.
Section 12 (1) states, the Board of Trustee has ‘powers’ to award contracts of any kind or description for any amount, whether in local or foreign currency in conformity with the due process requirements as provided under any law, rule, guideline or regulation.
Regarding the role of management, Section 15 states that the Executive Secretary is the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Trust Fund and is responsible for the administration of the Trust Fund.
Furthermore, Schedule 9 (5) Supplementary Provisions states under miscellaneous that “The fixing of the seal of the Trust Fund shall be authenticated by the signature of the Chairman or any other person authorized generally or specially to act for that purpose.”
But the Executive Secretary in circumventing the Act, wrote BPP on July 10, 2020, vide BPP/S.1/ CCM/20/Vol.1/289, “Requesting Clarification on Financial Limits and Thresholds, Procurement methods and threshold of Application and Expenditure as related to the Nigeria Police Trust Fund”.
On his part, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, stated clearly in a letter vide HAGF/PTF/2021/VOL.1/1 dated 6 August, 2021, that the Act establishing the Fund in section 11 made it known that, “The NPTF Board of Trustees is responsible for the management of the Trust Fund.
‘’The Board of Trustee is empowered to set out policies and programmes, approve disbursements of monies from the Trust Fund, scrutinize and approve projects and carry out other activities which are considered necessary for the attainment of objectives of the Act.”
Sources also told Vanguard that a serving ranking senator from one of the states in the North West, who was once a deputy governor but currently eyeing the governorship of his state in 2023, and working in cahoot with certain ministry officials were behind the procurement scam.
It would be recalled that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, last week invited the Director-General of Budget Office, Mr Ben Akabueze and other management staff, in its ongoing investigation into alleged procurement of substandard equipment for the Police.
Vanguard had reported a fortnight ago that some of the procured equipment by the Nigeria Police Trust Fund, NPTF, for the Police, including bullet proof vests and helmets, were below standard, as the bullet proof vests were discovered to have protective shield in front only, while the helmets were too small.
It was discovered that some of the vehicles purchased with the N11 billion intervention fund for the police were refurbished, with majority suspected to be used vehicles from war torn regions like Sudan and Libya.
A source said one of the vans which was attached to the convoy of one of the First Ladies from states had it’s top blown off while on motion to venue of President Muhammadu Buhari’s son’s recent wedding in Kano State, adding that it was providence that prevented a calamity.
Medical equipment purchased were also discovered to be substandard, with one of the items said to be the IV fluids, otherwise known as infusion drips, a sterile solution made of sodium chloride and water, which came in sachets, instead of plastic tubes.
The ICPC letter inviting the management staff, had read: “The invited staff are to come with the following documents as applicable to their office and schedule as well as original copies for sighting: two copies of all contract agreement for contract awarded from the take off grant and capital; copies of staff nominal role; comprehensive list of staff on transfer, posting and secondment ; vote for take-off grant; breakdown of all spending and approvals; print out of ledger vote and spending, all no objection certificates from Bureau of Public procurement, BPP, and evidence of BPP clarification on contract award, financial limits and thresholds, procurement methods and thresholds of application and expenditure as related to NPTF”