Ibrahim Idris, acting inspector-general of police (IGP), has alleged that Solomon Arase, his predecessor, went away with 24 police vehicles – including an armoured BMW 7 series, while he inherited an old car.
Speaking with reporters in Abuja on Sunday, Idris said the seven deputy inspectors-general of police (DIGs), who retired with Arase, also took away between seven and eight cars each.
Idris disclosed that he had assigned an investigative team to look into the records of police vehicles for the last three years.
“A week before I was announced IG, when you look through my office window, you could see so many cars. But the cars all disappeared when I came in,” he said.
“When I took over, there were no vehicles. I discovered that the last IG went away with 24 vehicles, including two BMWs. The DIGs some took seven, others eight. And they left me with an old vehicle.
“What I did in that was to assign a directive to the special investigative unit for them to investigate all vehicles’ purchases and donations to the police in the last three years as well as their positions.”
Idris said President Muhammadu Buhari has even noticed that he is using a less befitting vehicle.
He added that he has written to Arase, asking him to return the excess cars. He wondered why Arase decided to all those cars in the first place.
“Even the one I follow the president with, the last time I went for an engagement, the president asked what I was doing with that kind of vehicle,” he said.
“The headlight has changed colour, which means it was parked for long under the rain, but the new ones that were bought, including an Armoured BMW 7 series, he took them away.
“So, I wrote to him and reminded him of the police rule. When a policeman retires as IG, DIG, AIG or CP, he is entitled to some vehicles. So, he should take his entitlement and return the extra. I believe four vehicles are enough for an average person. What does one need 24 vehicles for?”
Idris said he was already looking into irregularities in promotion, adding that everything possible would be done to ensure fairness.
He said he also suffered such injustice, explaining that he spent five years as commissioner of police, while some of his juniors were promoted above him.
“I know how it feels. I was CP for five years while some of my colleagues who became CP were made AIGs within two years. So, I know how it feels. We have discussed it before I travelled,” he said.
“The new management will investigate the recent promotions. We will constitute a panel to see if the promotions were done in line with the Police Service Commission rules. This is a constitutional issue. “There is a policy and we need to find out if these promotions were done in accordance with laid down principles.”
On allegations of contract inflation, corruption and mismanagement of police investments levelled against the administration of Arase, Idris said the outcome of the investigation set up will determine if a probe was necessary.
“This is because every policeman from myself to the last constable contributes to these investments,” he said.
“These are people’s properties. So, I will make those units transparent and accountable. I have to know if these money are utilised with some measure of morality and accountability. So, we will know what action to take based on the audit report.
“On the issue of corruption, based on principle, if there are complains, we will investigate. I have heard so many rumours, but as a policeman, we work based on evidence. We will investigate when there is evidence.” TheCable