Court Strips Obla’s Panel of Prosecutorial Powers

The Court of Appeal in Abuja has annulled the prosecutorial powers of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP).

The decision of the court followed an appeal by the Tumsah brothers: Ibrahim and Tijani challenging the refusal of an FCT High Court to set aside the ex-parte order made on December 6, 2017 seizing their properties.

In a unanimous judgement delivered on Monday, the five-member panel of judges presided by Justice Husseini Mukhtar held that the SPIP has no power to apply for forfeiture of properties.

Citing Section 4(4) of the Recovery of Properties Special Provisions Act, the court said the SPIP should report its findings and conclusions to the Head of the Federal Republic, Who will in turn submit same to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for action.

“It is very important that due process be followed in this corruption cases, and indeed in all other matters. The Special Investigation Panel having been set up under the Recovery of Properties Special Provisions Act and thus being a creation of statutes, its powers are indeed circumscribed by the statutes creating it,” the court said.

The SPIP led by the Special Adviser to the President on Anti-corruption, Okoi Obono-Obla had in December, 2017 through an ex-parte seized 86 cars from the Ibrahim Tumsah, a Director of Finance and Accounts in the Ministry of Works and Housing, and Tijani Tumsah.

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