ICPC has powers to investigate certificate forgery, Court tells Obono-Obla

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Thursday, quashed the claim by the suspended Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Okoi Obono-Obla, that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) does not have the powers to investigate the allegation of certificate forgery levelled against him by the Commission.

The court presided over by Justice Nkeonye Maha, also in the same sitting, dismissed the allegation of abuse of fundamental human rights filed against ICPC by Obono-Obla.

The former SPIP Chairman was arrested by ICPC operatives in March 2020, after being declared wanted in October 2019 by the Commission, for repeatedly failing to honour invitations sent to him.

ICPC, while investigating allegations of abuse of office, certificate forgery and fraud amongst others, had wanted Obono-Obla to appear before it to clear his name.

He, however, turned down the invitations which prompted his arrest and subsequent detention in the Commission’s facilities before being released on bail.

The erstwhile SPIP boss then approached the court, seeking redress in a case of an alleged breach of his fundamental human right to dignity of the human person and personal liberty resulting from being declared wanted by ICPC.

He also sought the court’s powers to declare that ICPC lacked the powers to investigate him over allegation of certificate forgery.

Justice Maha, in her judgement, held that Obono-Obla, in his plea, failed to show how his right was breached or about to be breached following the invitations by ICPC and consequently dismissed the case.

The Judge also struck out his claim that the Commission lacked powers to investigate the allegation of certificate forgery, for being incompetent.

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