By Unini Chioma -August 14, 2019
President Muhammadu Buhari has suspended the Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla.
In a letter addressed to him through Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation, Buhari said the suspension would be in place till the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) concludes its investigation on Obono-Obla.
“I write to convey the directive of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. for your suspension from office as Chairman, Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property with immediate effect,” read the letter seen by TheCable.
“This suspension shall subsist until the conclusion of the on-going ICPC investigations into cases of alleged falsification of records and financial impropriety against your person.
“You are required by this instruction to strictly observe and comply with the provisions of PSR 030405 (a-c) of the Public Service Rules. For the avoidance of doubt, the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary. Federal Ministry of Justice shalt be the authority to whom you shall report.
Recall that Chief Obla had recently alleged that some highly placed people in the government had been plotting to remove him as Chairman of the Assets Recovery Panel because of his refusal to drop investigation of corrupt practices against them.
Obla specifically alleged that the Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Vice President had in January, written him to stop all investigations his panel was handling, as the government was going to embark on reform of the panel.
He also claimed that some interest groups in the government had pressurized his panel to drop investigations bordering on corruption issues that involve some members of the ruling party.
However, a Presidency Wednesday said that Obla may face criminal prosecution on matters related to his alleged financial dealings, as uncovered by the ICPC upon investigation.
Besides, he may face prosecution with regard to his academic credentials, specifically the WAEC Certificate issue.
According to Presidential source, “Government may ask the University of Jos to withdraw his law degree and the Nigerian Law School to debar him from practice.
” This is owing to the conclusion of the ICPC investigation, the recommendations of which were approved in full by President Buhari.”
Mr Obono-Obla’s suspension letter was signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha
The letter by Mr Mustapha indicated that while Mr Obono-Obla remained on suspension, the Solicitor General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, would take charge of the panel on recovery of public property. Other members of the panel will, however, remain in office.
The SGF office has since sent messages to Mr Obono-Obla to come and pick up his suspension letter.