The wanted former chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla, has said that he was never served with any suspension letter.
Obono-Obla, whose suspension was allegedly sanctioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, also claimed that his removal was illegal under the public service rule.
It would be recalled that a letter signed by the SGF on August 14, 2019, had claimed that the President had approved his immediate suspension pending the investigation of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) into allegations of falsification of records and financial impropriety.
Obono-Obla, however, in a post on his Facebook page on January 4, 2020, said before his suspension, he had survived two attempts to remove him, adding that the directive for him to report at the ICPC was absurd.
He posted: “I was purportedly suspended as the Chairman of the now disbanded Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property through an announcement in the media!
“Until this moment, I am yet to be served a letter to that effect. Prior to my suspension, there had been two failed attempts to remove me because I was seen as ‘uncompromising, uncontrollable and a non-team player’ by some people in the upper rung of government.
“However, I want to state that my purported suspension was indeed a breach of the dictates of fair hearing and the procedure laid down in the Public Service Rules regarding the suspension of a public officer.
“I was informed in the media of my purported suspension and directed to report myself to the ICPC! This is absurd!
“Under our constitutional/criminal jurisprudence, a suspect is presumed innocent till the contrary is proved! Directing me via the media to report to the ICPC to prove my innocence tantamounts (sic) to prejudging me even before commencement of the investigation of the allegations made against me.
“Another ridiculous allegation against me was violation of human rights! This allegation is baseless because the panel never had a detention facility throughout its two years of operation!
“Suspects under investigation were always granted administrative bail as soon as they met with the panel’s administrative formalities on grant of bail. Nobody was ever held more than 24 hours.”