By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA – The Special Presidential Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property has been dragged before the Federal High Court in Abuja over its alleged take over of a multi million naira property belonging to a private investor.
In an originating summons marked FHC/ABJ/CS/570/2019, the plaintiff, D. B. Mangal Ltd, is praying the court to stop the Chief Okoi Obono-Obla led panel from sealing off its property and forcefully ejecting, harassing and intimidating the occupants of the building.
The firm urged the court to determine whether going by the provisions of the Public Property (Special Provisions) Act Cap. R4 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2005, the panel is empowered to investigate issues bothering on ownership title and which had been adjudicated upon and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Also joined as defendants in the suit were the Petroleum Financial Corporate Ltd; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA.
The plaintiff is seeking an order of the court directing the panel to immediately vacate and cause to be removed the inscription “SPIP Under Investigation” pasted and inscribed on various places on its property described as Plot 1405, Cadastral Zone AO5, Maitama, Abuja.
Attached to the suit as exhibits were title documents including a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) no: 1951W-14fz-64cbr-10220-20, registered as No. 18125 in volume 90 of the Certificate of Occupancy Register in the Lands Registry Office, at Abuja, dated October 31, 2006 and undersigned by the then FCT Minister, Mallam Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai.
Also attached to the originating summons was a Certified True Copy of the judgment of Justice Ugochukwu Ogakwu of the FCT High in suit FCT/HC/238/2006, which was between the plaintiff and the defendants.
Meanwhile, the Obla panel had on Wednesday last week, handed over the said property to the National Board for Technical Education, NBTE.
It had before the hand over, placed the property which is also housing the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, under investigation.
Making the presentation to the Executive Secretary of NBTE, Dr. Masaudu Kazaure, Chairman of the Panel, Chief Obono-Obla, explained that the property was originally allocated to NBTE before a spurious claim of a revocation of the title.
He said the revocation and subsequent award of the asset to the plaintiff was in total disregard of the extant laws of the country.
Obla said the property became a subject of investigation following a petition to the panel on December 12, 2018, by one Ambassador Abdullah Alifa, the chairman of Petroleum Financial Corporate Ltd (PFC).
Meantime, the court has yet to fix a date for hearing of the suit.