Okoi Obono-Obla, a former chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property declared wanted for fraud has been spotted at an event.
The former chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla, who was declared wanted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on Thursday released a message on his Facebook page, which suggested he was in Nigeria attending social functions.
Punch gathered that the ICPC declared Obono-Obla wanted in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, accusing him of failing to honour its invitation over allegations bordering on fraud and corruption.
The statement said there was evidence that Obono-Obla left Nigeria in August and had yet to return to the country.
It stated further that Obono-Obla was facing allegations against him by members of the public on his role as the head of the SPIP.
The statement read, “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.”
ICPC claimed it 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 violated by Obono-Obla.
The commission stated that records from the Nigeria Immigration Service showed that Obono-Obla travelled out of the country to an undisclosed location on August 17 through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos and had not returned since.
Earlier on August 15, 2019, the commission invited Obono-Obla for questioning after his removal from office through a letter signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on August 14. The letter, with reference number 58788/S.75.18/T1/100, said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), had approved his immediate suspension pending the investigation of ICPC into alleged falsification of records and financial impropriety.
But in a daring message on Facebook on Thursday morning, Obono-Obla stated that he attended the unveiling of a book written by Abam Iwara on Tuesday, December 24, 2019, at The Presbyterian Primary School, Ugep in the Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The former SPIP chairman wrote, “I love the discipline of history! A society without history is a dead one! It is history that shapes the cultural, legal, economic and political circumstances of any given society or country!
“On the 24th December, 2019, I attended the unveiling of a book titled ‘Topics in African History: Before 1800 and in the 19th and 20th Centuries’, written by Chief Abam Iwara @ The Presbyterian Primary School, Ugep, Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State.
“To encourage the work of the author, I bought 250 copies of the book. I have decided to donate 50 copies of the book to five secondary schools in Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State to promote the study of history. The foreword of the book is written by my humble self.”
In another post, Obono-Obla released a picture claiming that Obol Lopon of Idomi, Yakurr Council Area of Cross River State and his entourage paid him a visit on Thursday, December 26. In the picture are Obono-Obla, two people in traditional attire (whom he claimed to have paid him the visit) and two children.
When Punch contacted the ICPC’s spokesperson, Okoduwa, to inquire if Obono-Obla wanted order had been lifted or still subsisting, she said through a text message that she was on leave and had to contact a department of the anti-graft agency.
Her message read, “I am currently on leave, I will have to find out from the enforcement department.”
A source at the commission, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent that Obono-Obla was still wanted, describing the posts as taunt directed at the ICPC.