“The presidential panel has requested the NIS to place a travel ban on persons who were alleged to have abused their offices and looted our commonwealth.”
Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Funds (SPIPRPP) said it has submitted the names of 39 alleged treasury looters to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for the purpose of restricting their movement out of the country.
Chairman of the panel, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, and added that the action was in accordance with the provisions of the Executive Order No 6 of 2018.
Although details of the list were not made public, the panel said it contained those currently under its investigation including the governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, former Senate President, David Mark, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, and the Tumsah brothers, among others.
At a press conference, yesterday, Obono-Obla confirmed “the presidential panel has requested the NIS to place a travel ban on some persons who were alleged to have abused their offices and looted our commonwealth.”
He further revealed that the panel, in partnership with the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, is investigating Nigerians allegedly implicated in the Paradise Panama Papers. He said the “findings would be made available to Nigerians; in due course.
“The panel is investigating the Tumsah brothers, Tijani Tumsah (vice chairman, Presidential Initiative on North East) and Ibrahim Tumsah (director, Finance and Accounts, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing), for alleged abuse of office, corruption and possession of unaccounted suspicious wealth beyond their legitimate earnings.
“The panel has recovered an assortment of 86 brand new luxury and sophisticated cars from the duo; 23 of these vehicles are bulletproof without the requisite permits.
“Also recovered from them are several choice properties, located in highbrow areas of Abuja and a quarry in Kuje, the Federal Capital Territory.
“The panel has since obtained an interim order of forfeiture from an FCT High Court; in respect of these properties.
“In a counter move, typical of corruption fighting back, the duo recently approached the Court of Appeal which held that the panel does not have the power to obtain interim forfeiture from the FCT High court, pursuant to the EFCC Act but from the Federal High Court, pursuant to the recovery of public property (special provision) Act, 2004, which has mischievously been misinterpreted and deliberately propagated by the appellants to mean that this panel has no power to prosecute any matter in any court.
“Some of these other pronouncements obviously reached ‘per incuriam’ have been challenged at the Supreme Court. The investigation of these two brothers continues.”
Still on recovery of properties, the panel said it has recovered 18 Innoson SUV vehicles from former commissioners of the National population Commission, who unilaterally appropriated to themselves their assigned official vehicles at the end of their tenures.
Another recovery of over N43 billion was unserviceable loans for the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN).
He said: “The SPIP, in collaboration with the FMBN, has recovered for the bank previously unserviceable loans in excess of N43 billion.
“This recovery is expected to boost the bank’s capacity and reposition it to better perform its statutory role of facilitating the provision of housing for all Nigerians.”
“The panel received intelligence on sharp practices at NEXIM Bank and proceeded to investigate.
“Findings revealed that rather than promote export and import activities, the previous management of NEXIM Bank, in connivance with persons of similar fraudulent disposition, engaged in insider illegalities and embezzlement to the tune of N523,200,000 cash and land valued atN1.5 billion; recovered from Aso Bank to NEXIM Bank.
“We have also secured a commitment from the culprits to pay back the balance
“We will give you updates as the need arises.