By Godson Ikiebey-

The chairman, special presidential investigation panel (SPIP) for the recovery of public property, Okoi Obono-Obla, has said that some ‘highly-placed individuals’ protecting persons under investigation for misappropriation of government funds are frustrating the panel.

You will recall that the SPIP had come under scrutiny following its probe of some high-profile persons, one of which is Goddy Nnadi, general manager of the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF).

The inspector-general of the police (IGP) had ordered the withdrawal of police security attached to the panel over a petition by Aisha Usman, a senior staff member of PEF under probe.

In a statement on Monday, August 12, 2019, Obono-Obla said some public servants, whose accounts have been discovered to contain money unlawfully acquired, had resorted to false petitions and attacks on officials of the panel.

He said he received calls that the office of the panel had been sealed by armed policemen, but that he was yet to be briefed on the issue. He said:

‘’It is time we call the myths out for what they are, as the news making the rounds appear to us as a smear campaign from people with their protectionist agenda in favour of persons being investigated.

‘’The efforts of the SPIP in the fight against corruption in Nigeria deserve to be recognised instead we are being dismissed with misleading scare stories and arm-twisting of the panel officials by ‘highly placed Nigerians’ wishing to protect some persons under investigation and thereby distracting the panel from carrying out its lawful mandate”.

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