The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested and detained a Commissioner of Police, Victor Onofiok, over alleged N1.9 billion fraud.
Correspondent gathered that the suspect, who was being detained at press time, was alleged to have favoured companies close to him in the award of contracts.
A top source in the anti-graft agency said: “A serving Commissioner of Police, Victor Onofiok, is being grilled by operatives of the EFCC over a N1.9 billion fraud.
“Onofiok, who is the CP Works at the Force Headquarters, was detained on November 30 after he was released for interrogation by the police.
“The officer, who has been CP Works since 2014, is alleged to have awarded contracts worth more than N1.9 billion to ‘companies’ in which he has interest.
“The companies include Dutse Allah Construction Ventures; Nne-Edak Technical Ventures; Puristic Adherent Company; Quality Watch Construction Company and Faksene International.
“These entities were found to be mere business names and not limited companies.”
As at press time, it was gathered that the EFCC was still trailing some likely accomplices of the suspect.
The source added: “So far, the CP is still in detention, but we cannot rule out likely accomplices. We are considering all clues.
“I can assure you that all those connected with the fraud will be brought to book.
“We have however intensified investigation.”
A police source said: “Based on a request to the IGP, Onofiok, who was elevated to the post of CP on January 23, 2014, was released to EFCC.
“We are awaiting the outcome of the police preliminary investigation before we can talk of the next disciplinary action against him.”
The uncovering of the N1.9bn fraud at the Force Headquarters came about 11 years after a former Inspector-General of Police, Tafa Balogun, was arrested and tried for N5.7 billion fraud.
Meanwhile, the Chairman Senate Committee on Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption, Senator Chukwuma Utazi, has assured the EFCC of the Senate’s support to ensure release of appropriated funds by the Federal Ministry of Finance toward the completion of the Commission’s head office complex.
Utazi, who made the pledge while inspecting the project, expressed satisfaction with the quality of work so far done.
“The quality of work done by Julius Berger is impressive,” he said.
A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, quoted Utazi as saying: “From the information we have got, N5 billion has been released, and we will ask the ministry of finance and budget office to ensure that the outstanding N2 billion that they are holding is released to the contractors so that they can push this job.
“We want that money released so that before we start looking at 2017 budget, we will have been done with the 2016 budget.
“It is very important that we are not just seen as saying we want to fight corruption. Even though we know we are tight on finances, this is of primary importance to us.”
Utazi expressed concern about the current location of the EFCC, stating that the place has a lot of distractions, which may compromise the integrity of investigations.
He expressed the 8th Senate’s commitment to seeing that the project is completed on time.
Utazi was accompanied on the visit by other members of the Committee, including Senator Dino Melaye, Senator Monsurat Sunmonu and Senator Jide Omoworare.