The former Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Prosecution and the former Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has debunked rumour that he absconded to Canada.
A source had told ElombahNews that Chief Obono-Obla ran away to Canada to avoid prosecution.
However, in a WhatsApp message sent on Friday, while responding to Facebook and WhatsApp messages sent by this medium, he replied that he is not in Canada.
ElombahNews wrote him:
“ElombahNews got an intel that you ran away to Canada to avoid prosecution. Inasmuch as the source is impeccable and the story seems juicy, we will not go air without hearing from you for a balanced report. Kindly confirm or debunk the report as our efforts to reach you on phone so far has failed.”
“It is not correct ! It is a lie! I have done nothing ! I am not in Canada !”
See screenshot of the WhatsApp exchange below:
The message was also forwarded to him via Facebook:
Chief Obono-Obla was on August 11 relieved of his appointment over allegations of corruption as Police seal off his office located in Asokoro, Abuja.
It was gathered that the Presidency also asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to look into corruption allegation against him.
According to an ElombahNews report dated August 16, President Buhari ordered ICPC to prosecute the erstwhile chairman.
Buhari directed ICPC to conclude its investigations and proceed to prosecute Obono-Obla following allegations of “abuse of office, intimidation, unauthorised malicious investigation, financial impropriety, administrative misconduct and forgery/falsification of records”.
In the interim, the Solicitor General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Dayo Apata, assumed control of SPIP.
Explaining the reason behind its decision, the Federal Government said that President Muhammadu Buhari elected to suspend Obob-Obla upon his receipt of an interim report from ICPC on allegations of misconduct and abuse of office against the SPIP Chair.
A Deputy Director, Public Affairs in the Federal Ministry of Justice, James Odaudu said in a statement that Obono-Obla trouble was informed by “series of petitions from legal practitioners, concerned public spirited citizens and public officers.
On September 17, President Buhari dissolved SPIP as then constituted with Mr. Obono-Obla as Chairman.
In a statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice was directed to immediately take over all outstanding investigations and other activities of the SPIP.
The panel was established in August 2017 by the then Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, to investigate specifically mandated cases of corruption, abuse of office and similar offences by public officers.
Meanwhile, earlier in December 21, 2018, the presidential Special Assistant had lashed out against the House of Representatives over its call then for his sack and arrest.
The House had asked President Buhari to sack and prosecute him over cases of corruption and certificate forgery.
It was alleged that the embattled anti-corruption czar forged the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) with which he gained admission into university.
Currently, the whereabouts of Chief Obono-Obla remains unclear as his phone remains perpetually switched off despite responding to WhatsApp inquiry.