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Police Quiz Agagu, Others, Over Nigeria Airways

Posted by By George Oji in Abuja on 2005/09/18 | Views: 558 |

Police Quiz Agagu, Others, Over Nigeria Airways


The Nigerian Police has commenced the haunting of some former Nigerian Airways Chiefs who were indicted by the Justice Obiora Nwazota's Judicial Panel of Inquiry, which probed the alleged misappropriation of millions of naira and other foreign currencies by some past administrations of the now defunct National airline.

The Nigerian Police has commenced the haunting of some former Nigerian Airways Chiefs who were indicted by the Justice Obiora Nwazota's Judicial Panel of Inquiry, which probed the alleged misappropriation of millions of naira and other foreign currencies by some past administrations of the now defunct National airline.


The police action, which led to the arrest last week of Captain Mohammed Joji (former Managing Director of Nigerian Airways), Alhaji Mohammed Kari (former Managing Director of NICON Insurance) and Rtd. Air Commodore Bernard Banfa (former Minister of Aviation) followed Federal Government's directives to the police to commence the implementation of the Engr. Rabiu Kwakwanso-led Inter-ministerial Implementation Committee, which was mandated to implement the report of the Nwazota's panel.


THISDAY gathered from authoritative police sources that Joji, Kari and Banfa were arrested in Lagos and taken to the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Abuja, where they were detained for two days, from Monday to Tuesday last week until they were released the following day Wednesday after questioning by the police and extracting assurances that they would make themselves available for further interrogations whenever the need arises.


Also interrogated but not detained by the police is the present Managing Director of NICON Insurance, Ms. Prisca Soares. Ondo State Governor and one time Chairman of the Board of the airline, Chief Olusegun  Agagu was also reportedly interrogated in Akure by the police but was spared arrest because of his Constitutional immunity.


The Nwazota Panel indicted many former MDs and Chairmen of Board of the defunct Nigeria Airways, including former Ministers of Aviation and NICON Insurance Chiefs over huge financial waste at the airline.


In addition to those arrested last week, the Panel also indicted the likes of Major General Olu Bajuwa (rtd.), Captain Peter Gana, (rtd), Air Vice Marshal Anthony Okpere, Rtd. Rear Admiral Patrick Koshoni, Chairman of Fidelity Insurance, Chief Biyi Olafisoye, amongst others.


THISDAY also gathered from Presidency sources that because of the resolve of President Olusegun Obasanjo to ensure swift execution of the assignment in line with his current anti-corruption campaign the Inter-ministerial committee was form between drafting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the police to execute the job.


It was further gathered that the decision to let the police handle the exercise was informed by the thinking that EFCC was already bogged down with many high profile investigations and thus would not be in a position to conclude the assignment in good time.


Moreover, the Committee received assurances from the Acting Inspector General of Police Mr. Sunday Ehindero that his force will do a swift and good job of the assignment.


It was following this that the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID) Mr. Okechukwu Ogbonnaya Onovo promptly constituted six teams for the assignment from the Force CID Abuja. Each of the teams was headed by a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) to be supervised by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Shittu.


THISDAY gathered that because of the seriousness attached to the assignment by the police high command, some of the staff of the Force CID Abuja, who were recently transferred were immediately recalled and drafted to Abuja for the assignment.


There are however fears that this assignment by the police may be frustrated by a number of reasons.


First, there are already indications that because of the calibre of Nigerians involved, good measures of external influences will be brought to bear on the police authorities to compromise the investigations.


For instance THISDAY gathered from police sources that shortly after the arrest of Joji, Kari and Banfa last week, there were directives from "very high quarters" for their immediate release.


Secondly, it is doubtful whether the police can muster the required financial muscle and aviation expertise required to handle this kind of high profile assignment.


Again, THISDAY gathered that the arrest of all the indicted persons was supposed to have been concluded last week, but the police team that went for the assignment had to cut short their task and prematurely arrests returned back to Abuja when they ran out of money.


Police sources revealed that each of the six teams comprising six senior police officers were only given the sum of N10,000.00 (ten thousand naira only) as travel expenses for the operation and asked to liase with the State Commissioners of Police in the affected states for assistance in the provision of accommodation and transportation.


By drafting the police to investigate the matter again, it is obvious that government is not unmindful of an earlier court injunction obtained by some of the indicted persons, preventing government from the implementation of the Nwazota's panel report.


It is therefore doubtful if the police can do as much thorough work as the properly constituted Nwazota panel that spent about three years traveling round the country and even abroad obtaining evidence for its assignment.


 

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.