Friday, July 22, 2011

Former IG Okiro Ordered To Pay N50 Million Over Shady Land Deals

An Abuja high court today ordered former Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro, to pay N50 million as well as accrued interests over a landed property he bought under the table while he was head of the Nigerian police. Mr. Okiro was not in court as Justice A.M. Talban gave the ruling earlier today.
In 2008, Mr. Okiro bought a parcel of land at 795 Cadatral Zone in Gudu District Abuja from Igwe Godwin Madu who is also the executive director of Goddson West Africa. Mr. Okiro used his front company, Hekiro Limited, in the land deal.
SaharaReporters learnt that Mr. Okiro had agreed to pay N130 million for the land. However, after paying a deposit of N70 million, he refused to redeem the balance. “In short, he started flexing muscles as the IG and tried using his office to harass Chief Madu into foregoing the outstanding amount,” said a source familiar with the deal.
When Mr. Madu took the case to court, Mr. Okiro refused to show up in court and enter a defense. Instead, the former IG invited Mr. Madu to come to his office at the police headquarters in Abuja to sign the "deed of assignment" for the land. “He wanted to use his office to further harass and intimidate the owner of the land he was buying,” said one source.
Despite Mr. Okiro’s hectoring manner, Femi Falana, who led the team of lawyers for Mr. Madu, pressed their client’s case. They asked the trial judge to rule in favor of Mr. Madu under the "undefended list rule."
Sensing that his decision to ignore the lawsuit might adversely affect him, Mr. Okiro rushed to court with his lawyers, led by Uche (SAN) and filed a defense claiming that the land seller had refused to sign the deed of assignment.
The judge then adjourned the case till today, requesting that Mr. Madu appear in court to sign the deed and collect the remainder of the payment from Mr. Okiro  
At the court’s session today, Mr. Okiro was a no-show. After waiting in vain for the defendant and his lawyers, Justice Talban awarded a ruling in favor of the plaintiff. He instructed Mr. Okiro to pay the balance of N50 million and interests accrued at prevailing market rate.

During his tenure as IG, Mr. Okiro undertook extensive private businesses and emerged as one of the most corrupt heads of the police. He exploited his office in a number of illicit deals for financial gain.In 2009, Mr. Okiro was indicted by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation for using his front company, Hekiro Limited, to obtain a loan of N166 million from Lead Bank. The unpaid loan was one of the factors that led to the demise of Lead Bank. The former IG also used the same front company to purchase the land that led to today's judgment.

In 2009, SaharaReporters unearthed a series of real estate holdings owned by the IG in the name of Bharmoss Ventures Limited, a company in which his children were directors. A company statement obtained by Saharareporters revealed that members of the Okiro family claimed that they were professionals in such fields as architecture, engineering, administration, and law.

The corporate document gave a short biography of each member of the board of directors starting with Yvonne Okiro, who graduated from the Ogun State University with an LLB degree in law and obtained an LLM in Environmental Law at the University of Scotland. She was called to the bar in 2002. Ms. Yvonne Okiro held the position of Company Secretary/Legal Adviser. Omolara Okiro, a 1993 graduate of Imo State University, holds a B.Sc degree in accounting.

Omo, as she is fondly called, was said to have earned some experience with the civil service before leaving to join the business world. The bio described her as versed in property acquisition/ development, and building construction. She was said to have foreign partners in the USSR, USA and Norway.

Innocent Okiro graduated from the University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt in 1990 with a B.Sc in Business Administration. The company statement described him as versed in international business. The pioneer chairman of Bharmoss, he was portrayed as an astute businessman with interests in various areas.

The last director, Samuel Okiro, is a 1990 graduate of Universitatea Politechnica, Bucuresti, Romania. Mr. Samuel Okiro also reportedly holds a Masters in mechanical engineering. The company categorized him as versed in international/foreign business, with reported experience in Florida, China, and London. Samuel reportedly joined Bharmoss Ventures as a pioneer director and has interests in various fields.
Dickson Ibikunle is named as the managing director of Bharmoss, one of Mr. Okiro's front companies. The company was registered in October 1993 while Okiro was deputy commissioner of police in Lagos. Our investigation revealed that the registered address for Mr. Okiro’s four children, who serve as directors of Bharmoss, is 18 Ladejobi Street, Ikeja, Lagos – Mr. Okiro’s official residence when he worked as the deputy commissioner of police in charge of administration in the Lagos Police Command, Ikeja.

No comments:

Post a Comment