President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the suspension of the Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla, from Office.
Obono-Obla’s suspension letter, signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, directed the embattled Official to step down and then proceed to answer questions from the the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.
He is to face probe over allegations of certificate forgery, and other corruption-related charges.
The letter by Mustapha, indicated that while Obono-Obla remained on suspension, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, would take charge of the Panel on recovery of public property. Other members of the Panel will however remain in Office.
Recall, that Obono-Obla’s anti-corruption job has often been steeped in controversies, which overshadowed some of the successes recorded by his Office.
An Ad hoc Panel set up by the House of Representatives, December last year, had asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack Obono-Obla, on the allegation that he forged his High School certificate. The Panel also accused the Official of corruption.
However, 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, the ICPC submitted a report to the Presidency, confirming that the Official indeed forged his High School Certificate. Multiple sources revealed that the Agency’s conclusion was that Obono-Obla fraudulently squeezed himself into the University of Jos, decades ago.
“He did not secure requisite academic credentials to enter the University of Jos to study law, or the Nigerian Law School”, the report found, according to sources. “He cannot build a career on fraudulently obtained credentials.”
Consequently, the ICPC advised the President to promptly relieve Obono-Obla of his job, after which its detectives would then take him into custody for prosecution, sources said.
Presidency sources disclosed that Buhari initially directed the outright removal of Obono-Obla from Office, but his removal was downgraded to a suspension, after he complained to some top administrative Officials, that the ICPC did not give him fair hearing.