The special presidential investigation panel for the recovery of public property (SPIP) has indicted it will challenge a recent court judgement stopping it from prosecuting citizens or seizing their assets
A court of appeal sitting in Abuja on November 5th , held that the Special Presidential Investigative Panel (SPIP) headed by Chief Okoi Obono Obla lacks prosecutorial powers and cannot seize properties belonging to anyone or obtain forfeiture orders against anyone.
However , on Tuesday, Lucie-Ann Laha, the panel’s head of communications, said the panel still has powers to prosecute offenders.
“Notwithstanding the judgment, Executive Order 6 of 2018 vests upon the Panel as an anti-corruption agency, the powers to seize in the interim, assets and property of persons under investigation by the panel,” she said.
She said although the panel is still studying the verdict, it is poised at taking steps to challenge it.
“It has a clear mandate to, among other things, investigate and recover public assets misappropriated by fraudulent individuals.
“The panel’s personnel are drawn from the law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies, including officers and men of Nigeria Police Force who are constitutionally vested with the power to arrest when and where necessary,” she said.
She said the panel was happy with the ruling in part, because it affirmed its powers to investigate the assets of those who corruptly enriched themselves and contributed to economic adversity of the country.
She added that the panel was established in August 2017 pursuant to the recovery of public property act of 2004.