House Crisis: Progressives Say Bankole Spent N9B In Two Years
ABUJA, JUNE 16, (THEWILL) - Determined to carry out their threat of forcing the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole to resign after today’s expiration of the seven days ultimatum to quit office, legislators under the aegis of Progressives have alleged that Bankole misappropriated N9 billion capital votes in two years.
But House Committee Chairman on Media and Publicity, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh, quickly said the allegations are spurious and frivolous labelling the Progressives as "legislative delinquents", working for an unfocused agenda.
They have asked Bankole to show cause for these expenditures totaling N9 billion which they said was spent on automobiles apart from other procurement items via documents handed the media today.
Hon. Dino Melaye who spoke on behalf of the Progressives said, "The House received a total sum of N11 billion for 2008 and 2009 and expended the total of 9billion. Majority of House members have no clue on the details of the expenditure purportedly made from this colossal sum. The Hon. Speaker authorized a spurious, vexatious and reckless expenditure profile at a time when there is so much economic hardship, massive unemployment and neglected infrastructure in the Country.
"Let us now illustrate the unacceptable expenditure profile authorized by the Hon. Speaker by giving a few examples."
They pointed out that "On May 28, 2008, the Hon. Speaker and the Body of Principal Officers approved the purchase of 4 units of Range Rover (V8) Jeeps, 3 units of Mercedes Benz S -600 cars for the use of the Hon. Speaker and his Deputy in the sum N335, 500, 000.
The allegation also spread to the approval and purchase of LCD 40" Samsung LNS 341 for the House of Representatives for the sum of N525, 000 per unit (for members)", but that the "market price for this product is about N180, 000" saying that the purchases violate section 15(1) (a) of the public procurement Act, 2007, which provides that "The provisions of this Act shall apply to all procurement of goods, works and services carried out by the Federal Government of Nigeria and all procurement entities."
But reacting further to the allegations, Eseme said, "they ought to know that as members of the National Assembly, they have the constitutional power of oversight, that means that they could have invited the Clerk of the National Assembly and other officers to find out. Because the National Assembly is also an arm of government, just like the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)", he said.
Eseme also said that instead of going to the press to make a show of their worthless pursuits, they should have gone to any of the anti-corruption agencies to present their case adding that when the House resumes plenary, the "boys will be separated from the men."