ABUJA – The Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Property SPIP said it has written the National Crime Commission of the United Kingdom UK to assist in the investigation of five senators with properties in the UK and the British Virgin Islands.
Chairman of the Panel, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla disclosed this at a news conference Monday in Abuja to highlight some of the activities of the body in 2018.
“The UK has passed a law that will also help us in Nigeria fight corruption and that is the ‘Unexplained Wealth Regulation’ which entails that if you have a property in the UK that is above $50, 000, you have to explain your source of wealth, and property here does not just mean a building but even jewelries. So, we have written the National Crime Authority in the UK asking them to investigate some Nigerian public officers who have property in the UK and the Virgin Islands”, he said.
Obono-Obla who is also the Special Assistant to the President on Public Prosecution added that if they are found culpable, they would be prosecuted in accordance with extant laws and made to forfeit such properties.
He listed the five public officials to be Senators Ike Ekweremadu, Hope Uzodinma, Stella Odua, Peter Nwaoboshi and Albert Bassey Akpan.
He denied accusations by Sen. Uzodinma that the panel was being instigated against him by the Imo state Governor, Rochas Okorocha with whom he fought a vicious political battle over the governorship ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC in the state.
Obono-Obla added that five oil companies are also under investigation for tax evasion and refusal to pay royalties to the Nigerian government.
He said the companies “have not remitted over $1 billion to the government”.
“A lot of oil companies are contributing to the economic challenges facing the country, denying Nigeria of royalties and also evading taxes, money that would have been channeled to the development of the country.
“Working with the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS, we discovered that Addax Petroleum has failed to pay tax for five years and so they are owing about N700 million. Then, thanks to a petition we received from Femi Falana SAN, Mobil which purchased an oil bloc in 2001 for $2.5 billion dollars is yet to pay about $1.9 billion of that money to the government. We have commenced our investigations too”, he stated.
He said the panel was also looking at a petition involving a top official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC as well as against the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN under Govs. Chukwuma Soludo and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi with regards to debt cancellations to banks.