Detectives from Force headquarters, Abuja have succeeded in arresting a key suspect allegedly involved in the illegal sell of the vessel named MT Okiki belonging to one Dr. Henry Okechukwu Obi in Port-Harcourt, Rivers state, last year.
This is also as a top government official fingered in the illegal sell was said to have suddenly resigned his appointment. However, it was not clear whether his resignation is in connection with his involvement in the illegal sell of the vessel or whether he was being shielded from police interrogation.
The owner of the vessel had alleged that top government officials in Rivers state in connivance with some businessmen sold the vessel worth N600 million without his knowledge. But the state government claimed it only carried out the order of a competent court in the sale. Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zaccheus Adango said it only carried out the order of an Environmental Sanitation Court sitting in Port-Harcourt which ordered the removal of the wreckage of MT Okiki from the waterways.
However, following the directives of the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Investigations Department, FCID, Abuja, the team led by a senior Police officer stormed Port-Harcourt, last week, and successfully smoked one of the key suspects, Mr Ken Kailo out of his hiding place in Okirika.
Police sources said the suspect was immediately flown to Abuja by the detectives after which they intensified efforts to engage the Rivers State government officials fingered in the crime. However, the detectives were shocked when they learnt about the sudden resignation of one of the Permanent Secretaries fingered in the illegal sell from office.
However, the remaining suspects are still at large but police sources said they have put everything in place for the arrest of the top government officials that reportedly absconded from their respective offices within that period.
Earlier, detectives from Abuja were in Port-Harcourt for the same mission for three days to interview the top government officials after receiving official information from the police. However, two off them that eventually showed up stated that they were not aware of the sale of the controversial vessel.
Rivers state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zaccheus Adango said it only carried out the order of an Environmental Sanitation Court sitting in Port-Harcourt which ordered the removal of the wreckage of MT Okiki from the waterways
He said: “The action was based on the subsisting order of the court and the provisions of the Rivers State Environmental Protection and Management Law3, 2019. If any act of illegality was committed in the course of implementing the order of thr court, those responsible should be held to account. The office of the Attorney-General has not done anything unlawful.”
However, police sources said one of the officials who was grilled for about 10 hours confessed that he did not advertise in any print media or Radio House looking for the owner of the vessel, rather it was the owner of Bio-Keff Nig Ltd who told him that the vessel was a wreck, that they needed to sale it since the owner is no more. Sources said he stated, unequivocally, that he did not go to verify this nor inspect the vessel, rather he ordered for them to sell it in connivance with a formal commissioner in the state.
According to the sources, he also said no money was paid to the River state account and that he didn’t receive any proceeds from the sell.