Bankole facing probe on 3 corruption cases -ICPC

Written by Lanre Adewole


Friday, June 25, 2010

THE Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is probing the  Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Dimeji Bankole, over three different alleged corruption cases, Nigerian Tribune learnt on Thursday.

Commission’s spokesperson, Mr. Folu Olamiti, confirmed to our correspondent that the alleged N5.2 billion Rural Electrification Project, the N2.3 billion car scam and the latest N9 billion scam have been receiving the attention of the anti-corruption agency.Bankole has been accused of involvement in the electrification project scam in which he allegedly employed his family members and cronies as contractors, fingered as the brains behind the car scam, as well as the recent N9 billion capital vote scam.Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs Farida Waziri, had described the House as a haven of corruption scandals while receiving a petition on the alleged scam from members of the House dubbed The Progressives, who have been pushing for the probe of the alleged scandal.The same group, according to Olamiti, submitted a copy of the petition to the ICPC at noon on Wednesday.Olamiti disclosed that investigation had commenced into the allegations against the Speaker, with the Nigerian Tribune being told that investigations into the two other alleged scams had reached an advanced stage.It was further learnt that the ICPC set the necessary machinery in motion for a thorough investigation of allegations of corruption against the speaker, with the chairman, Justice Emmanuel Ayoola, setting up a special unit to probe the allegations of the mismanagement of the capital vote for 2008.A rights group, Socio-Economic and Accountability Project (SERAP), had also petitioned the ICPC, asking it to commence instant investigations into the allegations by the Progressives against the House leadership as a means of returning transparency and accountability to the National Assembly.SERAP and the Progre-ssives group specifically asked the ICPC not to gloss over the allegations against the speaker of the House of Representatives, especially the approval the leadership gave for the purchase of four units of Range Rover Jeeps; three units of Mercedes Benz S-600 cars for the use of the speaker and his deputy to the tune of N335,500,000.They also asked the ICPC to look into the allegation that the House leadership purchased LCD 40 Samsung LNS 341 for members at N525,000 per unit, allegedly above the market price for the product, which was put at N180,000 per unit.The groups also encouraged the ICPC to expedite action on the two other alleged scams, in the course of handling the fresh case against the speaker, most especially an allegation that some members of his family were beneficiaries of contracts on national rural electrification project.The SERAP petition, signed by Mr Adeto-kunbo Mumuni, read in part: “We are seriously concerned that the above allegations constitute grave breaches of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Act 2000, the Public Procurement Act 2007, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption which Nigeria has ratified.”We are further concerned that allegations of corruption by lawmakers would undermine the credibility of the legislative process and impede the ability of the House to effectively play its constitutional role or to provide the necessary leadership in the anti-corruption fight.”The allegations also amount to a grave breach of constitutional provisions and would undermine the constitutional role of the House of Representatives to make law for the good and development of the country.”SERAP, therefore, urged the ICPC to make public the outcome of its investigations, adding that “the commission should ensure the recovery of any money that is the subject of corruption and ensure that those suspected to be responsible are brought to justice.”Olamiti, while confirming the receipt of the petitions, said the commission would do a good job on the cases.

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