By Ushang Ewa
The suspended Chairman of the Presidential Special Investigation Panel on the recovery of public property, Barrister Okoi Obono-Obla has filed a suit against the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), a statement by his solicitors issued on Friday read.
The ICPC had earlier this week, declared wanted, Obono-Obla who also served as Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on prosecution.
And, Baba Isa, Obono-Obla’s lawyer on Friday morning in a statement to CrossRiverWatch said the ICPC was already prejudiced in its investigation as they did not invite his client but engaged in a “well oiled media trial.”
“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,” Isa’s statement read.
It said Obono-Obla was “never ever invited by the ICPC for an interview or questioning.”
The ICPC had said it invited Mr. Obono-Obla via a letter dropped at the law office of Obono, Obono & Associates. And, Isa said Obono-Obla had resigned from there since 2015, “to accept the appointment of President Mohammadu 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.”
The statement further read: “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 on the grounds that the agency is already prejudiced against him. Our Client took this action after a full blown media trial was launched against him. It was/is crystal clear that the ICPC has already declared him guilty even before they started their investigation. No sane man will trust an investigative agency to be fair, just and decent when it is clear from their conduct and posturing that such an agency has already taken sides.
“The ICPC has been served with court processes in the said suit, but they have refused to react to the suit but rather they have chosen to carry on as a law unto themselves, ignoring the suit and going on with the media trial by declaring Our Client wanted without even first obtaining an order of court in that regard.
“This is most unfortunate. The ICPC should obey the law and due process by first serving Our Client an invitation letter, joining issues with Our Client in court and when that is disposed off, one way or the other, justice can be said to have been done. To arrogantly ignore the case in court and carry on as they are doing cuts a riotous image of President Buhari’s administration. It paints the administration as one without adherence to the rule of law, one that sacrifices its anti-corruption crusaders for political expediency. It is most unfortunate.”
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.