• Says five oil companies under investigation for $1bn tax evasion
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) yesterday disclosed that not less than 39 names of alleged treasury looters have been submitted to the Nigerian Immigration Service to prevent them from escaping investigation and prosecution for alleged criminal acts.
Chairman of the Panel, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, who made the disclosure yesterday at the panel’s maiden media conference in Abuja, vowed to bring all corrupt persons, including organisations that have short-changed the country.
He said the move to restrict their movement out of the country is in line with the Executive Order 6 of 2018, that empowers the president with special powers in the fight against corruption.
According to Obono-Obla, the names submitted to the Comptroller General of Immigration, include those currently under investigation by the panel.
Those currently being investigated by the panel include All Progressives Congress governorship candidate in Imo State, Senator Hope Uzodinma, former Senate President, David Mark, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole.
Others are the Tumsah brothers – Tijani Tumsah (Vice Chairman, Presidential Initiative on North East) and Ibrahim Tumsah (Director, Finance and Accounts, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing) for alleged abuse of office, corruption and possession of unaccounted suspicious wealth beyond their legitimate earnings.
“In accordance with provisions of the Executive Order No 6 of 2018, The Presidential Panel has requested the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), to place a travel ban on some persons who are alleged to have abused their offices and looted our commonwealth”, he said.
Reeling out its achievements since its inauguration in the last one year, Obono-Obla said the panel has recovered huge sums of monies from individuals and organisations and contributed in given bite to the President Muhammadu Buhari’s war on corruption.
“Upon receiving a report of abuse of office and embezzlement by the management of the National Theatre, Igamu, Lagos, the panel investigated and recovered from directors the sum of N24 million. Consequently, the directors have been charged to court and the case handed over to the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation for diligent prosecution”, he said.
From the Tunsahs brothers, the panel said it recovered an assortment of 86 brand new luxury and sophisticated cars from the duo, adding that “23 of these vehicles are bullet-proof without the requisite permits. Also recovered from them are several choice properties, located in highbrow areas of Abuja and a quarry in Kuje, the Federal Capital Territory”.
Also recovered are 18 vehicles belonging to the National Population Commission, over N43billion unserviceable loans for the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, among others.
Outside individuals, the panel claimed that about five oil companies are being investigated over the alleged tax evasion to the tune of $1billion.
According to him, while Addax Oil is accused of not remitting over N700 million to the government, Mobil Nigeria Producing is said to be involved in a N1.9 billion fraud.