The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, says it will appeal against recent Court of Appeal judgment on its functions.
The court had ruled that the Panel had no powers to prosecute or seize assets of persons perceived to have fraudulently enriched themselves at the expense of Nigerians.
The Head, Media and Communications of the panel, Ms Lucie-Ann Laha, said in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja that the agency was still studying the verdict and may take necessary steps to appeal against it.
She said that Chairman of the Panel, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, was quoted out of context by an online publication, Metrolawyer, as saying that “the judgment was political as the Panel was not given fair hearing.”
Laha said the panel was “rather happy with the court’s ruling in part’’ because it affirmed its powers to investigate the assets of those who corruptly enriched themselves and contributed to economic adversity of the country.
“Notwithstanding the judgment, Executive Order 6 of 2018 vests upon the Panel as an anti-corruption agency, the powers to seize in the interim, assets and property of persons under investigation by the panel,” she said.
The spokesperson said the panel was established in Aug. 2017 pursuant to the Recovery of Public Property Act of 2004.
“It has a clear mandate to, among other things, investigate and recover public assets misappropriated by fraudulent individuals.
“The panel’s personnel are drawn from the law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies, including officers and men of Nigeria Police Force who are statutorily vested with the power to arrest when and where necessary,” she explained.