The Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property has asked Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick and four other senior officials being investigated for corruption to make themselves available, while insisting a court action by the officials will not deter it from carrying out its work.
The NFF President,Amaju Pinnick, Vice-Presidents Seyi Akinwunmi and Shehu Dikko, executive committee member Ahmed Yusuf ‘Fresh’ and secretary general Mohammed Sanusi have failed to report at the Panel, who had initially granted them administrative bail.
They have stayed away from the public glare since it was speculated they will soon be arraigned in court on a case of conspiracy and alleged corruption.
Instead in a mere grandstanding show by their lawyers, the officials have now sought to block their prosecution even when they have not yet been charged.
“I advice them to willingly report themselves to the Panel,” Panel chairman Okoi Obono Obla stated.
He also said an injunction or a court action by the officials will not stop the Panel’s work.
“The position of the law is that you can’t use an injunction or a court process to restrain or stop a body created by law from carrying out its statutory responsibilities,” he said
“The Panel is created by the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) 2004 and vested with the responsibility to investigate assets of public officers who have corruptly enriched themselves or who have abused their office or who have violated the code of conduct provisions in the Constitution or who have contributed towards the economic adversity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We merely invited the NFF officials to hear from them concerning the allegation that they stole public funds amounting to billions of Naira which is against Nigerian law.
“Under the Recovery of Public Property ( Special Provisions) 2004 the allegations against them tantamount to causing economic adversity to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He added: “However access to court is a constitutional guarantee right, but it can’t be used to stop an investigation.
“If they are challenging the legality of the powers of the Panel, fine but we will still continue to do our work.
“It will be otherwise if the court rules that our work is unconstitutional, then we are bound to stop.
“Gladly the court has not said so! Most importantly the Panel has not received any court process from the NFF officials.”
He wondered how the Panel’s invitation to the officials infringes on their fundamental human rights.
“A mere invitation by a law enforcement agency constitutes infraction of any body’s right?” he asked rhetorically.