TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

Re: Icpc Recovers 3 Ambulances And 500kva Transformer From Senator Buruji Kashamu

By Chukwu Alfred

The attention of the media office of Senator Buruji Kashamu has been drawn to a mischievous statement credited to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) that it has recovered three ambulances and 500KVA Transformer, which are Constituency Project items, from Senator Buruji Kashamu’s office in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State.

To be sure, we wish to state that no items were recovered from Senator Kashamu's constituency office in Ijebu-Ode. Rather, the items that were handed over to ICPC officials were delivered at the constituency office in Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State. The items were delivered to the Constituency office in Ijebu-Igbo by the contractors late in 2017.

However, as the distribution of the items and execution of the various projects were ongoing, Senator Kashamu discovered that his former Senior Legislative Aide (SLA), Onadeko Onamusi, abused his position and influenced the award of 18 out of the 21 constituency projects to two of his (the SLA’s) companies - Stanton Nigeria Limited and Haines & Baines Nigeria Limited.

Alarmed at the discovery, Senator Kashamu issued a query to Onamusi and terminated his appointment. Thereafter, the matter was reported to the ICPC.

The ICPC investigated the matter, arrested and charged Onamusi to court.

In fact, on the 28th of November, 2018, the ICPC through its spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, issued a statement wherein it announced that it had charged Onamusi to court over N68.7million contract scam.

In the statement, the ICPC said Onamusi was arraigned before Justice C. N. Oji of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Apo, Abuja, on 18 counts.

Onamusi was accused of using his companies to execute several contracts for the National Assembly.

According to The Punch newspaper of 29th November, 2018, “The anti-graft agency listed the contracts to include ambulance procurement, supply of hospital equipment and drugs for primary health centres and construction of classrooms for some selected schools in six communities of the Ogun East Senatorial District.

“The statement said the contracts were awarded to Haines and Baines, when the lawmaker was employed as a Senior Legislative Aide in the National Assembly and at the same time acting as the Managing Director of the company.

“The ICPC said Onamusi’s actions violated sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

“After the former lawmaker pleaded not guilty to the charges, his lawyer, Wahab Olatoye, pleaded with the court to grant him bail to enable him to attend to his health, having just returned from England where he had gone to seek medical attention.

“But the prosecuting counsel for the ICPC, Ephraim Otti, opposed the bail application, saying that it took the commission more than a year to track the ex-lawmaker, after he allegedly jumped an administrative bail granted him.

“The judge, while adjourning until December 10, 2018 for ruling on Onamusi’s bail application, ordered that the ex-lawmaker should be returned to the custody of the ICPC.”

So, for any objective mind, it should not be difficult to understand that there was no way the distribution of the items could have continued since they had become a subject of litigation and could be used as evidence. It is even more so when part of the senator's complaint was that the contractor supplied Volvo hearse instead of supplying ambulances.

This was the situation until Senator Kashamu served out his term of office in June, 2019. It is instructive that the items were not diverted or taken anywhere for the personal use of the senator or any of his associates.

So, if the matter the ICPC took to court had been determined one or the other, what it should have done was for the items to be delivered to the beneficiaries and not this unnecessary melodrama by the commission.

The three Volvo hearse and transformer were not hidden. They have always been in the open within the expansive compound of Senator Kashamu’s Constituency office in Ijebu-Igbo. So, there could not have been any recovery.

It is shameful that the same agency that got Onamusi arrested, investigated and charged to court over the same items could turn round to claim recovery of the items that had been reported to it on the basis of some unfounded “intelligence”.

If anything, Senator Kashamu should be commended for his rare patriotic step of reporting his aide to the ICPC for allegedly abusing his position as a Senior Legislative Aide.

All of these are in the public domain and can be verified at the ICPC and FCT High Court, Abuja.

Signed
Austin Oniyokor
Media Adviser to Senator Buruji Kashamu
26th September, 2019