Reps threaten to arrest Malami, Obono-Obla others

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The House of Representatives has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on the Attorney General of the Federation and minister for justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, and the chairman of the Presidential panel of the recovery of public properties, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla and members of the committee if they fail to appear before it next Tuesday.Also on the list are the Office of the Vice president, the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF), Office of the Head of Service of the Federation (OHSF), the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) and Auditor General of the Federation.Others are the representatives of the ministry of finance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Budget Office of the Federation and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA).Chairman of the House ad hoc committee investigating the modus operandi of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel, Hon. Aliyu Ahman-Pategi who issued the threat yesterday warned that the affected persons must appear in person.At the commencement of the investigation yesterday, most of the heads of the affected ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) were either absent or sent representatives forcing the committee to postpone the probe.Addressing representatives of the chairman of the presidential panel, Ahman-Pategi said “we will not take that arrogance here. Even if it means inviting President Muhammadu Buhari we will do it. And let me read section 88 of the constitution, which give us the powers to do what we are doing.“We are worried about the level of ineptitude and incompetence exhibited by government appointees and functionaries. This should be the last time heads of MDAs are invited here and they fail to appear. If anybody fails to honour our invitation next Tuesday by 10 am, we will wield the big stick”Recall that the House had in March, mandated the ad hoc committee on the Special Investigation Panel, led by Hon. Ahman-Pategi to probe into activities of the committee, following a motion passed on the floor on the constitutionality and otherwise of the presidential panel.Consequently, the ad hoc committee had in a letter dated 28th March 2018 and referenced NASS/8HR/DCD/016180/001 requested the chairman of the panel to submit the list, curriculum vitae, and certificates of its members.The committee also demanded for documents showing “the annual budgetary provisions for the panel since inception; list of investigations carried out from inception to date; list of all the seizures effected from inception till date, showing their location and names of persons from whom the seizures where made; details of bank account; and details of income & expenditure since inception”.While declaring the investigative hearing open, speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara said that the legislature has the constitutional responsibility to ensure good governance, law and order in the country.Represented by the Deputy Minority Whip Hon. Binta Bello Maigari, the speaker noted that the imperatives of the fight against corruption and doing things right in line with international best practices and added that the 1999 Constitution has vested the power of investigation of corruption on the National Assembly.He expressed serious reservations on the constitution of the probe panel added that the ad-hoc committee is not to witch-hunt anybody rather it is to enthrone accountability and good governance.Other members of the ad-hoc committee as Hon. Toby Okechukwu (Enugu, PDP) and Hon. Kingsley Chinda (Rivers, PDP) had noted with distrust what is happening in many government agencies.The lawmakers insisted that they won’t take any brief from a representative of the Chairman of the Presidential Panel and other invited government agencies at the hearing and threatened to invoke the provisions of Sec 88 and 89 of the 1999 Constitution if the invitees shun the next sitting.
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