President Muhammadu Buhari has asked Okoi Obono-Obla, chairman of the Special Investigation Panel on recovery of Public Property (SPIP), to proceed on immediate suspension.
Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation wrote the panel’s chair to convey the president’s decision.
Obono-Obla, who is also a lawyer and special assistant to the president will remain suspended pending outcome of his investigation by Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
“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.
“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.”
Newspaper reports had quoted the lawyer Tuesday that some “highly-placed individuals” protecting persons under investigation for misappropriation of government funds are frustrating the panel.
The SPIP had come under scrutiny following its probe of some high-profile persons, one of which is Goddy Nnadi, general manager of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF).
The inspector-general of the police had ordered the withdrawal of police security attached to the panel over a petition by Aisha Usman, a senior staff member of PEF, under probe.
Obono-Obla had said some public servants, whose accounts have been discovered to contain money unlawfully acquired, had resorted to false petitions and attacks on officials of the panel.
It’s is not clear if the panel will continue to function in the absence of its chairman since there is no known procedure in the presence circumstance.
The now suspended chairman is a vocal supporter of President Buhari, but has come under investigation because of alleged certificate forgery and high-handedness.