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HomePoliticsEx-Chair of Nigeria's anti-corruption panel, Obono-Obla alleges recovered loot returned to offenders...

Ex-Chair of Nigeria’s anti-corruption panel, Obono-Obla alleges recovered loot returned to offenders under Buhari administration

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Okoi Obono-Obla, the former Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), has leveled serious allegations against the administration of former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking on the Mic On Podcast, Obono-Obla claimed that the loot recovered by his panel was returned to the original looters and criticized the Buhari administration for failing to combat corruption effectively.

Obono-Obla, who served as a presidential aide under Buhari, stated that his efforts to hold looters accountable were frequently undermined by officials within the administration, including former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.

He described Malami as an “authoritarian” who impeded his anti-corruption efforts.

“Some of the things I recovered were returned to the looters,” Obono-Obla said. He recounted a specific case where he recovered over 80 brand new X-class armored Mercedes Benz cars from an individual in Jabi, Abuja, only to have his efforts nullified by Malami.

Despite obtaining an interim forfeiture order from the court, Obono-Obla said Malami dismissed his actions, claiming he had never authorized the investigation.

Obono-Obla’s accusations extended to a prominent case involving a former Director of Power, Works, and Housing, Ibrahim Tumsah. SPIP had recovered 86 vehicles, land, houses, and farms from Tumsah, valued at approximately N500 million.

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Obono-Obla also pointed to an investigation involving a sitting senator, later President of the Senate, who was implicated in the Panama Papers for owning offshore properties worth over £200 million. Despite submitting a report to both the president and the Attorney General, Obono-Obla claimed no action was taken.

Reflecting on the broader anti-corruption efforts of the Buhari administration, Obono-Obla stated, “Yes, I would say so. We didn’t do well.”

He highlighted the similar fates of himself and former EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu, both of whom were known for their aggressive stances against corruption. He recounted how Malami would mock his efforts to recover funds, often joking to Obono-Obla’s wife about his progress.

Obono-Obla’s tenure ended controversially in 2019 when he was suspended over allegations of falsifying his WAEC results to gain admission to the University of Jos and subsequently the Nigerian Law School.

Although the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) investigated these claims, Obono-Obla has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and the case was eventually dismissed.

Despite his suspension, which has not been lifted, Obono-Obla maintains that his removal was orchestrated by Malami.

These revelations cast a critical light on the anti-corruption credentials of the Buhari administration and highlight the internal conflicts that can undermine such efforts.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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