Firm seeks NHRC’s assistance in prosecution of alleged fraudsters
WORRIED over the refusal of the Police to transfer its investigation case file involving alleged fraud to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for possible prosecution, a Lagos based ICT firm, Citadel Oracle Concept Limited has approached the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Prof. Bem Angwe for assistance.
According to the case file, sometime in April 2012, the firm tendered for three slots of an advertised contract for supply of laptops to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which officials of FIRS later confirmed that “no contract has been awarded to the firm” after several communications.
However, in August 2013, in the course of the Company’s auditors carrying out their functions in the Ibadan Zonal office of FIRS, a fictitious discovery was made that a contract was awarded and executed in the firm’s name.
It was also gathered that a fictitious bank account N0 0059202675 was opened at Access Bank, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi branch with the firm’s name upon which the contract money running into several millions of naira was paid in and disbursed.
The fraud was promptly reported to the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police Force, which started investigations, necessitating a DPP’s advice for the prosecution of the indicted persons.
owever, prosecution of the culprits is yet to commence, two years on, following the failure of the police to transfer the case file to the DPP despite several letters to that effect.
But in a letter to Prof Angwe dated June 15, 2015 and signed by its solicitor, Enyinnaya Uwaezuoke of Phoenix Solicitors, Lagos, the firm implored the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission to use his good office to bring to bear on the police authorities to rescind and reverse their decision not to transfer the case file for the prosecution of the alleged fraudsters indicted by the advice of the DPP.
The firm expressed surprise to have received a letter from the office of the Inspector General of Police dated May 14, 2015 with reference N0 CBV: 5180/IGP SEC/ABJ/VOL 34/975 and signed by one ACP Abubakar S. Yahaya, Principal Staff officer 11 to the Inspector General of Police to the effect that they are unable to transfer the case file owing to a civil matter it initiated at the Lagos High Court and in order to prevent “ a miscarriage of justice.”
According to the firm, it was unable to come to terms with the decision from the highest authority of the Nigerian Police Force, which invariably have constituted itself as a court of law capable of making the decision unilaterally that if a crime is prosecuted according to law in a court, simultaneously with a civil action, a miscarriage of justice will occur.
“The Inspector General of Police is aware that there is no Victims Remedies Law yet in Nigeria and that the Nigerian Criminal Justice system only treats the victim of a crime as a witness leaving him only the choice to approach the civil court for remedies. How could these now form the basis for the police to decline to perform her statutory functions are indeed strange to our laws?”
“It is safe for us to conclude that the police have been inveighed upon by the individuals and companies indicted by the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution to refuse to do their jobs. We are of the opinion that if the situation is allowed to remain it will not in any way yield good results for our society,” it added.
The firm, which has also given the Police 21 days within which to transfer the case file to the office of the DPP, Federal Ministry of Justice Abuja or face judicial action, said the refusal of the Police is coming after it had used over two years to investigate the complaint.