Buhari disbands Presidential Panel for recovery of public property

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President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, dissolved the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) led by Mr Okoi Obono-Obla.

A statement by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, confirmed this development Tuesday.

He said that the president looked forward to receiving the final Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) report on the ongoing investigations of the dissolved panel’s Chairman.

Adesina said Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice had been directed to immediately take over all outstanding investigations and other activities of SPIP.

“While thanking all members of the dissolved panel for their services, the President looks forward to receiving the final ICPC report on the ongoing investigation of the dissolved panel’s Chairman,” he said.

Buhari had on August 14 suspended Obono-Obla “with immediate effect” over allegations of “falsification of records and financial impropriety”.

The panel was established in August 2017 by Mr Yemi Osinbajo, as acting President then, to investigate specifically cases of corruption, abuse of office and similar offences by public officers.

Multiple presidency sources had said Buhari suspended the head of the panel via a letter. “With the information at our disposal, he will face prosecution on alleged financial dealings. With regards to his academic credentials,  Obla will be prosecuted, accordingly.

“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 ICPC investigation, the recommendations of which were approved in full by Mr Buhari,” said of the sources.

Another source said the presidency has also received an indicting report on the panel chairman bordering on forgery and misconduct.

“The main grouse against him was that, while the Panel was supposed to investigate only cases referred to it by the government, according to the law establishing the panel, the Chairman single-handedly took on cases outside its mandate and in gross violation of rule of law, including violations of people’s fundamenetal human rights.

“In spite of the specificity of the mandate of the panel, Federal Government has been inundated with complaints against Obla. These include complaints of violation of the specific mandate of the Panel, human rights abuses and conduct unbecoming of an official of government, whose conduct and actions had, in a number of times, subjected the panel and the government to ridicule,” he said.