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Challenges Before The Presidential Panel On Recovery Of Public Funds/ Assets

  • Written by  Utum Eteng
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Challenges Before The Presidential Panel On Recovery Of Public Funds/ Assets

The constitution of the Obono Obla Special Presidential Investigative Panel by The Presidency, pursuant to the 1983 Act, is a step in the right direction showing the seriousness of President Buhari in his changed agenda against corruption. It is a task that must be achieved if Nigeria must be set free from the firm grip of the apostle of corruption.

Obla's appointment as the pioneering chairman of this novel panel is instructive and significant in many respects. For instance, Obla from call to bar as a lawyer, has ceaselessly demonstrated without equivocation, his for oppression, suppression of others and fraudulent tendencies amongst his peer group and elders. He may not be a perfect man, in so far as perfection is an exclusive preserve of our Father in heaven. Suffice it to opine that Obla's qualification as a zero tolerant advocate for corruption has never been in doubt.  This golden opportunity to work side by side in a government headed by a President Buhari, a leader with an acknowledged pedigree of zero tolerance for corruption is an opportunity to demonstrate holistically and in practical terms the classification of his hate for corruption. Therefore, one makes bold to commend President Buhari for exhuming this long abandoned Act of parliament against corruption 33 years ago but was left in limbo into action.

As Obla and his panel are about to settle down to address specifics, it is pertinent to remind him that time is of essence if any reasonable impact must be made there are many corrupt public officers waiting to enjoy either the provided life imprisonment or a 21 years jail term provided in the Act. 

Though the powers of the panel appear elastic, comprehensive, and all embracing, Obla and the panel must identify the prime targets by selecting institutions and persons to investigate. Obla has the benefit of setting a motion a concrete style of take-off. For examine, the originating method apart from the direct use of petitions has been made simple vide the use of FORM 1 in the Act which the panel can independently issue to any public or private persons to disclose the style and source of their wealth. By this law therefore, those corruption infested public office holders who steal public funds to acquire property in the names of their personal Assistants, relations, children, wives and or proxies have no hiding place.

One should be quick to remind Obla that past NDDC staff including those who acted as state commissioners representing their states must promptly be investigated to justify the source of their stupendous wealth.

It is important to remind Obla and his panel that since inception, the NDDC has been perceived as a gold mine and thus used as such. From the funds budgeted, we see past NDDC staff acquiring Estates, hotels, expensive cars, and keeping fat bank Accounts foreign and local either in their personal names, aides, wives and relatives. They hide CAMA to invest in companies they are proxies.

In some time past, the NDDC has been speculated to award contracts for huge sums of money without the same being performed, completed yet money paid for it. Obla's panel must get to the root of this.

The NDDC as an intervensionist organization to which billions of the tax payers funds is pumped with a view to make the people of the Niger Delta happy require special focus. Obla must accept this. The funds in the deep pockets of its past managing Directors, Commissioners, Staff and aides must be investigated and where found short-charging the commission, recovered, confiscated and possibly prosecuted.

 

 ETENG, a lawyer, sent this from Calabar

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