The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Tuesday declared the suspended Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Okoi Obono-Obla who is suspected to have fled the country wanted.
The ICPC in a statement signed by its spokesperson Rasheedat A. Okoduwa and published on Twitter declared ex-Presidential aide, Mr. Obono-Obla wanted due to “his repeated failure to appear before it to answer questions bordering on allegations of fraud and corruption”
The allegations in question against Obono-Obla, the ICPC said, were “levelled against him by members of the public” and stem from his time as head of the SPIP which was tasked with recovering looted government assets from public officials.
In his role as SPIP chairman, Mr. Obono-Obla targetted the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and sought at different times to prosecute the leadership of the NFF even though the SPIP had no prosecutorial powers as per its charter.
His overreach eventually led to his suspension “with immediate effect” by President Muhammadu Buhari in August “with immediate effect” by President Muhammadu Buhari in August amid on-going investigations pertaining to “falsification of records and financial impropriety” against Mr Obono-Obla.
With a myriad of allegations hanging over his head, Mr. Obono-Obla is suspected to have fled the country rather than answer multiple invitations from the anti-graft agency.
The ICPC through its investigations established that Mr. Obono-Obla “left the country to an undisclosed location on 17th August, 2019, through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, and has not returned two months after.”
The anti-graft agency has now declared him wanted whilst they await his return.
ICPC Statement In Full
“ICPC has declared the suspended Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Mr. Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla, wanted due to his repeated failure to appear before it to answer questions bordering on allegations of fraud and corruption.
“Mr. Obono-Obla is facing series of allegations leveled against him by members of the public on his role as head of the government panel on asset recovery.
“The Commission is in receipt of petitions accusing him of abuse of office, falsification of admission records, living above his income and collection of gratification from suspects under his investigation.
“The suspended chairman is also facing allegations of working outside the guidelines governing the panel by investigating unauthorized petitions and prosecuting suspects without recourse to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation,” the statement read in part.
“ICPC said after they have conducted series of investigations on the allegations with preliminary findings showing that some provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and extant laws of Nigeria had been allegedly violated by Mr. Obono-Obla.
“Consequently, ICPC had extended several invitations to him, which he had failed to honour without giving any reason. Attempts to track and make him appear before the Commission also failed leading ICPC to contact other law enforcement agencies for assistance concerning his whereabouts.
“One of such contact has yielded results as records from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) show that Mr. Obono-Obla had travelled out of the country.
“The NIS records revealed that he left the country to an undisclosed location on 17th August, 2019, through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, and has not returned two months after.”