Government

Buhari sacks aide, Obono-Obla after ICPC report

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Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, the Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) has been fired.

The Punch reports that Obono-Obla’s sack letter had been delivered to the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata.

This came after a report by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (SPIP) indicting him of certificate forgery and illegal financial dealings.

The source said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked Okoi Obono-Obla, the head of the assets recovery panel.

“The letter conveying his sack was delivered to the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Obono-Obla’s supervising ministry.

“He may himself face criminal prosecution on matters related to his alleged financial dealings, as uncovered by the ICPC upon investigation.

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“He may, in addition, face prosecution with regard to his academic credentials, specifically the WAEC certificate issue.

“Government may ask the University of Jos to withdraw his Law degree and the Nigerian Law School to debar him from practice.”

During his time away, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, was said to have been asked to take over the leadership of the five-man panel in acting capacity.

According to another source, “The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Justice Minister had earlier recommended to the Presidency that a thorough investigation be conducted into the allegations of forgery levelled against Obono-Obla while also suspending him from office.

“The Presidency has also received an indicting report on the panel chairman bordering on acts of forgery and misconduct.”

“According to the Office of the Attorney-General, Obla has been accused of various offences ranging from abuse of office, intimidation and unauthorised malicious investigations and administrative misconduct, among others.

“In fact, the matter of the mandate of the panel became an issue of judicial interpretation at the Appeal Court in the case of Tijjani Musa V the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“In that case, the Appeal Court held that the panel headed by Obono-Obla lacks prosecutorial powers and cannot seize properties belonging to anyone or obtain forfeiture orders against any public official.”

The source said, “The other four members of the five-man panel wrote a petition against him, asking for urgent action to curtail the several identified unlawful conducts of the chairman of the panel.

“According to the panel members, while two cases involving NEXIM Bank and CBN, Finance Ministry, Nigeran Ports Authority were referred to the panel, the chairman single-handedly took on over 50 cases outside the mandate of the panel.”

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