ANTI-graft officials have declared Okoi Obono-Obla the former chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) wanted after he failed to appear before the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
In August this year, President Muhammadu Buhari unceremoniously sacked Mr Obono-Obla and police sealed off his Abuja office located in Asokoro without him being aware of what was going on. One presidency source said the police action followed a directive from the presidency that Mr Obono-Obla should be relieved of his appointment immediately.
An ad hoc panel set up by the House of Representatives in December last year, had asked President Buhari to sack him over a forgery allegation and of corruption. However, Mr Obono-Obla had said at the time that the forgery and corruption allegations against him were merely a witch-hunt by people who were uncomfortable with his anti-corruption fight.
Last week, Mr Obono-Obla was asked to report to the ICPC office for questioning but when he refused to do so, he was declared wanted. ICPC spokeswoman Rasheedat Okoduwa, said the warrant for his arrest was based on his repeated failure to appear before the agency to answer questions bordering on allegations of fraud and corruption.
She added: “Mr. Obono-Obla is facing a series of allegations levelled 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 unauthorised petitions and prosecuting suspects without recourse to the office of the attorney-general of the federation. The ICPC had conducted a 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 the 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. 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.”