Obono-Obla sues ICPC, accuses commission of bias

The suspended Chairman of the Special Presidential Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla, has taken the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to court.

He is challenging his investigation by the agency, saying the commission was already prejudiced against him.

Obono-Obla said he was never invited by the commission before declaring him wanted in the media.

He said the action was an attempt to ridicule and embarrass him.

According to a statement by his counsel, F. Baba Isa, the ICPC had been served with court processes.

The statement read, “Our attention was drawn to a widely circulated press release by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission wherein they declared Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, the erstwhile Chairman of the Special Presidential Panel for the Recovery of Public property, wanted, for failing to honour a purported invitation extended to him pursuant to an investigation they claim they are conducting.

“Though it is obvious that the whole intent of the ICPC press statement declaring our client wanted is an unfortunate episode in a ‘well-oiled’ media trial orchestrated to ridicule and embarrass a man who spent the last two years of his life fighting corruption to its knees, let us put some record straight as succinctly as possible.

“Chief Okoi Obono-Obla was never invited by the ICPC for an interview or questioning. Rather, we read on social media and blogs that a purported invitation letter was left at the law office of Obono, Obono and Associates, a law firm which our client resigned from in 2015 to accept the appointment of President Muhammadu Buhari; first to serve as Special Assistant on Prosecution and then as Chairman of the Special Presidential Panel for the Recovery of Public Property.

“The ICPC knew this; for they should know that he was not combining private legal practice and public service.

“An invitation of this nature must be done by personal service on the invitee, failure of which the proper legal steps should be taken to serve the invitee through substituted means. ICPC cannot just drop a purported invitation letter meant for a person anywhere and claim that they have invited such a person. So, we repeat, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has never been invited by the ICPC.

“Secondly, a case has been filed by our client against the ICPC, challenging the purported investigation because the agency is already prejudiced against him. Our client took this action after a full-blown media trial was launched against him.”

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