How Malami frustrated fight against corruption under Buhari – Obono-Obla

Former chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Okoi Obono-Obla, has alleged that former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, frustrated efforts to fight corruption under ex-president, Muhammadu Buhari.

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.

Obono-Obla, who spoke on Seun Okinbaloye’s Mic On Podcast, said Malami and other officials under Buhari thwarted moves to bring corrupt individuals into book in the country.

“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”, he stated according to Daily Trust.

“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, further narrated how Malami allegedly frustrated him.

He compared his suspension in office to that of the former Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

“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,” he stated.

“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.

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