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Obono-Obla: Buhari Administration Returns Billions, Exposes Corruption Cover-Ups

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” Okoi Obono-Obla , former SPIP chairman, accuses Abubakar Malami and presidential villa occupants of frustrating anti-corruption efforts, alleging billions were returned following investigations.”

Okoi Obono-Obla, a former chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), has accused Abubakar Malami, the immediate past Attorney General of the Federation, and some occupants of the presidential villa of frustrating anti-corruption efforts.

Obono-Obla also said the Buhari administration returned billions of dollars following investigations.

“Some of the things I recovered were returned to the looters. For instance, there was this case of someone from whom I recovered over 80 brand new Mercedes Benz cars, armoured plated, from Jabi, Abuja,” said Obono-Obla.

“I wrote to the DG of Customs to ask if the person paid customs duties of the vehicles and he said no. They didn’t pay. I wrote to the Federal Inland Revenue Services to know if the person paid tax on the vehicles; he also said no, and they don’t have the records. We went to court to get an order of interim forfeiture, and it was granted 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.”

Obono-Obla shared a list of investigations into looted and missing funds on Mic On Podcast on Saturday.

“There was a case I was investigating in National Health Insurance. When President Buhari went to the UK and there was an acting president, there was a removal of about N10 billion from the national insurance account. Under the law that established that national health insurance scheme, nobody is meant to move money from that account,” Obono-Obla stated.

“When I started investigating, I had phone calls. One of the callers claimed to be chief detail to Mr. President. Later, I received a query from the presidential villa asking me who mandated me to initiate that investigation. I replied that under the law that set up this panel, I did not require mandates. The people responsible thought I was stubborn and rude in the bold manner I responded to the query.”

Obono-Obla explained that before the query came from the presidential villa, he had checked with security and they could not identify the number that claimed to be the chief detail’s.

The query Obono-Obla received came from acting president Yemi Osinbajo’s aide.

“One of the cases I investigated was a report by Retired Major General Adamu Yusuf. He wrote a petition to my office saying that he was a whistleblower to a case that led to the recovery of $2 billion and 850 million gold bars from the house of a minister in [former President] Jonathan’s government,” Obono-Obla noted.

“He [Yusuf] said that the agreement he had with Abba Kyari was that after the recovery, he was going to have a commission. He said that after the operation, the money was recovered but the money was not declared to the government. The gold bars were not declared to the government; only 350 million gold bars were declared. So, he was angry.”

Obono-Obla also said he wrote “a memo on the CBN”.

“There was this issue of stamp duties. School of Banking Honours, an NGO, had written a petition saying that the banks had recovered over N38 trillion over the years from stamp duties and that this money had not been remitted. They mentioned the former acting governor of the Central Bank. When Emefiele was removed, an acting governor was appointed. That man was the managing director of NIBSS, a firm or system established by bankers in Nigeria.

“Shortly after that, it was announced that the same man had been appointed as the deputy governor of the Central Bank. So I wrote a memo informing President Buhari that how could he appoint a deputy governor whom we were investigating concerning stamp duties.

“The ADC kept this memo for a month and invited me to his office. He handed the memo back to me and said that I should go and investigate other things. I was disappointed.”

The CBN deputy governor referred to was Folashodun Shonubi.

Before his appointment as the deputy governor of CBN (Operations Directorate), Shonubi was the managing director and chief executive officer of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS).

Obono-Obla also mentioned that his panel investigated the case of a senator who later became the President of the Senate. The senator appeared in the Panama Papers, which stated that he had property in offshore islands.

According to Obono-Obla, he did not have the power to investigate the senator because the property was overseas.

“So, I went to the DG of the NIA and sought his help to work together,” Obono-Obla said.

“They conducted an investigation and sent the report to me. The report confirmed that this senator had over £200 million worth of property in the offshore islands. I sent a copy to the president and one to the attorney general. Till today, nothing happened.

“I got a letter from an American law firm saying that they had access to a bank account in Texas that had $6o billion in proceeds from crude oil and $9 billion linked to a Nigerian national security adviser. I thought it was beyond me, so I wrote to the president so that we could recover the money.

“I also wrote to the attorney general. He did not respond. He only saw my wife later on and asked, ‘I thought Obla said that he would recover $69 billion. Has he recovered the money?’

“He laughed, and he was being sarcastic. How would I recover the money when you didn’t act as the attorney general and the government did not take action?”

The ICPC investigated Obono-Obla in 2019 after “repeated failure to appear before it to answer questions bordering on allegations of fraud and corruption”.

He continues to deny he did anything wrong, insisting that Malami wanted him out of the government because he was stubborn.

Obono-Obla also insisted that non of the charges levelled against him had proof of his wrongdoing.

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