Chairman of Special Presidential Committee on Recovery of Public Funds, Okoi Obono-Obla

The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) yesterday said it had begun investigation into alleged corrupt practices by some officials of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF).

Also facing scrutiny are three permanent secretaries. Its chairman, Okoi Obono-Obla, dropped the hint while addressing reporters yesterday in Abuja.

He claimed that foreign currencies were also discovered in the accounts of the suspects, adding that the panel would approach the court to seek for the forfeiture of funds to the Federal Government.

The chairman said most of the inflows came from huge transactions deposited into their personal accounts.

He alleged: “After a painstaking perusal of the statement of accounts of the suspects and witnesses and a critical appraisal of the documents so far retrieved during the course of our investigation, the total inflow of money into the suspects’ accounts in various institutions amounted to N22 billion.”

According to Obono-Obla, the team is seeking an interim forfeiture of funds and properties belonging to the affected officials in a case with suit number, FHC/ABJ/CS/862/2019, at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

He said one of the permanent secretaries bought a house in Asokoro for over N500 million in the name of her eight-year-old son, adding that she also registered a company through which she had been conducting business.

The chairman added that the panel got a petition from a whistleblower about the property and commenced investigation.

His words: “Our investigation is yet to be concluded because when we are investigating a public officer, we also investigate the siblings and relations and fronts so you won’t see their names.

“The other one was alleged to have included projects in budgets of 2017 and 2018 that were fake and was also allegedly collecting money to pay for goods and services that are no more in existence.

‘The other permanent secretary, we got information from a whistleblower, has a lot of landed property, including a hotel in Abuja. We are investigating him. From our investigation, he did not declare his assets when he was inaugurated in October 2017. And in accordance with the procedure of the Code of Conduct Bureau, an assets declaration form was given to him to declare his assets and he was supposed to do that within three months of his assumption of office.”

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