© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Anti-corruption lawyer petitions ICPC over former Works Ministry Director who owns 84 cars
OLUWATOSIN Ojaomo, a lawyer and anti-corruption campaigner has petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) demanding the prosecution of Ibrahim Tumsah, a former Director of Finance and Administration at the defunct Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and Tijani Tumsah, his brother over allegations of corruption.
In a copy of the petition sighted by The ICIR, Ojaomo who was a prosecutor with defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel of Public Property (SPIP) called on ICPC to investigate the matter and charge the two brothers to court in order to build public confidence in the anti-corruption war of the Buhari administration.
He stated that Ibrahim Tumsah was one of the public officers that were investigated by the defunct SPIP chaired by Okoi Obono-Ola over his alleged failure to declare his ownership of about 86 exotic cars and other properties.
Ojaomo noted that Tijanni Tumsah on his part was investigated for engaging in corrupt practices at the Presidential Initiative on North East.
He stressed that as an anti-graft campaigner, he had decided “to pursue this matter to a logical conclusion going by the anti-corruption mantra of the President Muhammadu Buhari led government.”
The activist said it would be a disservice not just to the nation, but to persons like himself who were lobbied severally to bury the matter at the panel, but refused all the entreaties due to his belief in the current administration’s war against corruption.
According to him, there were overwhelming evidence against the Tumsah brothers which can be used to prosecute them in the court of law.
“My decision to petition your office on this matter stems from the fact that the Court of Appeal didn’t discharge and acquit the Tumsah brothers for the allegations levelled against them by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property, but only said the agency which brought the matter to court does not possess the statutory powers to so do,” Ojaomo said.
He noted that it was also on record that some of the exhibits recovered from the Tumsah brothers were allegedly bought in the name of two companies, Integrated Service Insurance Ltd and Integrated Bureau De-Change Ltd which belong to the two of them.
The lawyer said that as an anti-corruption campaigner and Special Prosecutor with the defunct SPIP, he believed that allowing the matter to be swept under the carpet would not only affect the anti-corruption campaign of this government, but would continue to affect the image of the government going by the public commendation that followed the announcement of investigation of the Tumsah brothers in the media.
“It is shocking to hear that all the cars and properties recovered from the suspects have been returned to them under a very suspicious under hand deal where some persons were heavily compromised to achieve this sinister motive,” he said.
“I have been duly informed that due to the sack of Obono Obla and the subsequent dissolution of the panel, the Tumsahs have recovered all their properties and currently enjoying the proceeds of this crime.
“It is also on record that huge sum of money was siphoned by Tijani Tumsah through the Presidential Initiative on North East wherein a website was created to collect money from the public and international donors.”
However, Ibrahim Tumsah while reacting to the petition told The ICIR that the matter has been settled in court.
“I don’t have anything to say to the ICPC and about the petition because the case has been settled in court,” he said.
Tijani Tumsah did not respond to The ICIR’s text message concerning the petition at the time of filing this report.
Rashidat Okoduwa, Spokesperson for the ICPC was also contacted for comment on the petition but did not answer calls to her phone and did not reply text messages at the time of filing this report.
The Tumsah brothers were charged to court by SPIP in the case of alleged failure to declare assets without reasonable excuse.
Earlier in the case, the court ordered that 86 luxury vehicles allegedly owned by the brothers, together with four houses and a quarry plant in Kuje, Abuja, be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
They were subsequently let off the hook when the Federal High Court in Abuja in February 2019 on dismissed the two counts of non-declaration of assets instituted against them.
Justice Inyang Ekwo dismissed the charges on the grounds that the Okoi Obono-Obla-led Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property and its prosecutor Celsus Ukpong, who filed the case, lacked “the statutory power” to do so.