The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), on Thursday declared that the sacked Chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Chief Okoi Obono-Obla is still a wanted man.
This was disclosed at a press briefing by the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, in Abuja, where she highlighted major achievements of the agency in 2019.
Responding to a question on the status of the former SPIP chairman with the agency, Okoduwa said: “Yes, we have read in the media about his being available in the country, that he is making statements on social media platforms.
“We have also made statements to the effect that he should come out from hiding and present himself to ICPC. That is the only way he can clear his name, the only way to move forward.
“We have also heard from media sources how he has been calling ICPC names, saying that commission is in rivalry with his office, and a lot more. That is a lot of hogwash. I have had people call me to say: what do you have to respond to Obono Obla, saying your chairman is a rival to him? It is hogwash.
“The decent thing is for the gentleman to come to ICPC to clear his name. We are giving him an opportunity to clear his name. After all, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty…”
Okoduwa also revealed that the anti-graft agency recovered N77.04 billion worth of assets from suspects in 2019.
According to her, the agency received 1,934 petitions out of which it concluded investigations on 580.
The remaining petitions, which were not within its jurisdiction, were referred to relevant anti-graft agencies, she said.
She further revealed that out of the 580 concluded investigations, 83 cases were filed in court and 25 convictions secured.
She said: “In the last one year, we have recovered over N77.04 billion assets, including N1.16 billion in Treasury Single Account (TSA); immovable assets worth N32.038 billion and about N41.98 billion restrained after the review of MDAs Personnel Cost Expenditure.
“Others were recoveries from project tracking (N0.767b) and N1.097 billion, being the value of constituency projects completed after we forced contractors to sites.
“ICPC has also received 1,934 petitions and concluded investigations on 580 cases. All petitions were duly registered and captured. Quite a good number of the petitions were not within ICPC jurisdiction because they bordered on some issues, like pensions, estate, economic and financial crimes.
“Several of those petitions have been forwarded to the relevant agencies. After those concluded investigations, 83 cases were filed in court. We had 25 convictions in 2019 but some of them were carried over cases.”
On why the agency seldom name names, Okoduwa said: “ICPC is not shy about naming and shaming of those suspected of corrupt practices but we have to work within the ambit of the law.
“We have named certain corrupt persons when we have reasons to go to court. We are not shy of exposing those who engage in corrupt practices; we only follow the law.
“Our ultimate goal in this anti-corruption war is about the betterment of the people. We believe that anti-corruption campaign should not happen in a vacuum; it should increase development; it should increase growth. It shouldn’t be about how many people you have thrown into prison.
“Since the bottom line is allowing people to derive benefits from anti-corruption measures/ investigations, if we embroil ourselves in cases, it may take years for people to reap from what we may recover from corrupt elements.”