The whistleblower policy of the Federal Government might have become the leeway for some policemen attached to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Special Tactical Squad and an unscrupulous magistrate in Abuja to blackmail and extort varying sums of money from contractors working for Ministries, Department and Agencies, (MDA), believed to be involved in shady deals, The Whistler has learnt.
This newspaper gathered that the policemen, led by the second in command (2i/c) of the tactical squad and leader of the investigative team, SP Ben Kalio Bright, blackmail and intimidate the contractors using the name and office of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Idris Ibrahim and the Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC) Sir Mike Okiro.
The squad is also alleged to be working with some court officials who reportedly give court orders to freeze bank accounts of individuals and companies under the guise that their accounts are being investigated under the whistle-blower policy.
However, these officers go on to contact the affected individuals and companies to open negotiations on how to unfreeze the said accounts at a price which is said to run into millions of naira.
One of the contractors, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity for fear of victimization, claimed the team leader is running a syndicate under the whistle blower policy to harass and extort money from contractors and top civil servants.
“This officer has the backing of his bosses and has continued to run a syndicate under the whistle-blower policy to harass and extort huge sums of money from contractors and top civil servants in Nigeria,” he claimed.
“He harasses us and drops name of the current Inspector General of Police (IGP), Idris Ibrahim and current chairman of the Police Service Commission, Mike Okiro, who is a retired IG, and other top police officers.
“The syndicate has been successful basically because they are working in cahoots with some courts in the FCT, for the purpose of carrying out their new trade.”
Speaking further, he said: “Information available to us revealed that the officer has already obtained orders of a magistrate court in the FCT that we believe is in collaboration with him, to freeze bank accounts of more contractors working for MDAs.”
When contacted, the Squad Commander, ACP Yusuf Kolo, dismissed the allegation stating that the squad does not have the authority to initiate such investigation without the order of a competent court.
He explained that several investigations ordered by the court were on-going and are not restricted to whistle-blowing related cases, just as it is not within the job description of his squad to freeze or unfreeze any account,
According to him, the squad is charged with investigating and reporting to the courts on its finding hence any irregularities concerning freezing and unfreezing accounts may have to be traced to the courts.
The commander, who said he was not aware of negotiation with suspects or defendants in any case, said the police cannot collaborate with criminals to pervert the course of justice.
Also, speaking on the allegations against his team, SP Bright confirmed that every investigation by the team is assigned by the commander following a court order which is usually a consequence of a petition.
Bright said that his team, like other teams in the squad, investigate issues raised in such petitions by inviting the interested parties to make statements among other techniques, but has no dealings with the court.
While stating that the allegation was the handiwork of some powerful people bent on frustrating the squad’s investigation, he noted that the only case where accounts of suspects were unfrozen, even as the investigation was yet to be completed, was without the knowledge of the investigating team.