•Presidential probe panel writes UK govt •Why we won’t make list public now –Obono
Chinelo Obogo; Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Federal Government has forwarded a list of alleged treasury looters to the United Kingdom government.
The Federal Government wrote the UK through its, Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP).
Chairman of SPIP, Okoi Obono-Obla, said in statement by his media aide, yesterday, that the agency is partnering with the UK Home Secretary to ensure that some public officers perceived to have looted public funds and illegally acquired assets both in Nigeria and the UK were prevented from entering the country.
“The panel has also compiled a list of over 200 past and serving public officers perceived to have illegally enriched themselves at the expense of the nation and the Nigerian people, among others,” Obono-Obla said.
He also said the panel has recovered $7 million illegally kept in a new generation bank, adding that the probe of former governors and lawmakers was ongoing.
In a chat with Daily Sun, last night, Obono-Obla confirmed the letter has been forwarded to the UK government but declined to name those being investigated.
“We won’t disclose their identity now. It may prejudice the investigation. We don’t want the investigation to attack people’s integrity because the allegations may be true or not. We don’t want to subject people to media trial,” he noted.
In March, the US revoked the visa of Chief Raymond Dokpesi, founder of DAAR Communications and a senior member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The media mogul said he was informed that the action was taken because of the appearance of his name on the “looters list” released by the Federal Government.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had released two lists of alleged looters.
The first list contained five names while the second had the names of 23 people.
Those listed as “looters” were Uche Secondus, national chairman of the PDP; Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA); and Olisa Metuh, former national publicity secretary of the PDP.
Also listed were Dudafa Waripamo-Owei, former senior special assistant to president Goodluck Jonathan, Dieziani Alison-Madukwe, former petroleum resources minister; Femi Fani-Kayode, former minister of aviation.
Dokpesi, who is currently standing trial for allegedly receiving N2.1 billion from the office of the NSA, had filed a suit against Mohammed, seeking N5 billion damages for “defamation of character”.
He has denied all claims of corruption.
In the suit filed by Mike Ozekhome, his counsel, the PDP chieftain said the US embassy in Nigeria notified him of the withdrawal of his visa on March 16.
He said the embassy told him it was withdrawn because the Federal Government included his name on a “looters list” it (the government) purportedly submitted to it. In a move similar to the revocation of Chief Dokpesi’s visa, the UK may cancel the visas of Nigerians perceived to have plundered the nation’s treasury.
Meanwhile, the British High Commission said it was not aware of any letter containing list of alleged looters.
The High Commission made the denial in separate telephone interviews by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright and the Press and Public Affairs Officer, Joe Abuku.
Arkwright, while responding to enquiring from Daily Sun if he received any letter from SPIP said no.
“I can’t confirm what I don’t know,” he said.
Abuku also told Daily Sun that the British High Commission was not aware of any letter from Obono-Obla.
Abuku said: “We are not aware of that. I can’t confirm because I have left the office.”
He, however, said he was going to revert on the looters list.