Recovered Loot Returned To Looters Under Buhari- Obono-Obla

The loot recovered under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was returned to the looters, according to Okoi Obono-Obla, former Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP).

He made the allegation during an interview with Seun Okinbaloye on Mic On Podcast.

Obono-Obla, who was appointed by Buhari, said all his efforts to bring many looters to justice in the country were frustrated by the former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, and other
officials in the same administration.

He said: “Some of the things I recovered were returned to the looters. There was this case of someone from whom I recovered over 80 brand new X-class Mercedes Benz cars (armoured plated) from Jabi, Abuja.

“I wrote to the DG, Customs and the Federal Inland Revenue Services to ask if the person paid customs duties and tax on the vehicles; they said No.

“We get an order of interim forfeiture from the court pending the hearing of the case. So, I sent a memo to Malami to brief him on what we were doing, only for him to tell me that he never mandated me to do things I investigated.

“Another one is the case of a senator who was then in his sitting status and later became the President of the Senate. I found his story in the Panama Papers, which stated that he had property in offshore islands; I didn’t have the power to investigate him because it was overseas, so I went to the DG, NIA, and sought his help to work together,” he said.

Obono-Obla, who faulted the anti-graft war of the Buhari administration, narrated how Malami allegedly frustrated him.

“We didn’t do well. When Magu (former EFCC chairman) and I left, we didn’t hear anything again about fighting corruption. Both of us had a similar fate; we were stepping on toes and too stubborn. In fact, Malami’s close associate once told me, ‘you —Obla and Magu— are very stubborn.

“All the problems I had, Malami was behind them. The president wouldn’t have removed me without his input. He would joke to my wife if I had now recovered the billion dollars I wanted to recover from the firm that mailed me.

“I was not dismissed, I was suspended and till date, the suspension has not been lifted,” he said.

SPIP was an independent investigative panel set up by former president Buhari to recover Nigeria’s looted assets.

In August 2019, Obono-Obla was sacked as the chairman of the SPIP and asked to submit himself to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) for interrogation over allegations of forgery and financial impropriety.

He refused to concede to the ICPC, but sued the anti-corruption agency instead.

He alleged that he was being persecuted for stepping on powerful toes while doing his job.

Obono-Obla was investigating some officials of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) before his sack.

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