Operatives of the Federal Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (FCIID), Abuja, deployed to Port Harcourt, Rivers State to investigate the alleged illegal sale of a N600 million vessel, MT Okiki, have made arrests.
The police however said the state government was not aware of the deal and the proceeds were not remitted to its accounts.
But the police quizzed some top officials of the state government, two company chiefs and the jetty owner, who were later released.
An authoritative police source said their investigation showed that the offices of the secretary to the state government (SSG) and head of service (HoS) were not aware of the transaction.
The source said a few state officials allegedly involved in the case however refused to honour police invitation.
He said a senior official of the Ministry of Environment who was grilled for several hours admitted that the ministry did not advertise in the media for the owner of the vessel to evacuate it from the shore as required by law.
The official reportedly named the managing director of a company of alerting the ministry that the vessel was a wreck and should be sold because its owner was dead.
According to him, the said company chief and a former commissioner in the state connived to sell the vessel and nothing was paid to the state government’s account.
When LEADERSHIP contacted one Alhaji Ali Sulaimon, chairman of Petroleum Financial Corporate (PFC), who was allegedly arrested and later released on bail over the purchase of the vessel, he retorted: “Arrested for what again? This is another ploy to dent the image of the police force.
“I am free as the bird that flies in the sky. Nobody is too big to be arrested by the police , however, the police don’t just arrest without cogent reason. Somebody is trying to blackmail the police.”
The managing director of Florence Petroleum and Marine Services, Dr Henry Okey Obi, had claimed that the Rivers State government was involved in the unauthroised sale of his N600 million vessel known as MT Okiki.