Corruption: Why They Are After Me, Bankole Cries Out

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ABUJA, July 29, (THEWILL) - Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Dimeji Bankole has disclosed that his approval of various investigations was responsible for the deluge of corruption allegations against him by people who were affected by the probes into their corrupt practices.

Bankole who made this known while speaking during an interactive session with representatives of Nigerians in Diaspora at the National Assembly said that his determination to uncover corruption and promote due process and accountability in government transactions through various investigations by the House of Representatives under his leadership was responsible for attacks against him.

"We are doing our job. We represent, we make laws and we do oversight and investigate. This is the difficult aspect because when you investigate, the job tends to ruffle feathers and all types of attacks and allegations begin to fly", he said.

The Speaker admitted that it was expected that there would be spurious allegations against him because of the various frauds that the House has been uncovering through oversight, and said, "When you are not doing your job very well, people do not really talk."

He explained that it would be wrong to ask him to step down based on anti-corruption allegations levelled against him by members of the Progressive Group, adding that former Speaker Patricia Etteh’s case does not apply to him as there was no evidence to substantiate the allegations.

Referring to the first corruption allegation that he was involved in fraud in the purchase of the 407 cars given to members of the House, he said that evidence brought to substantiate the petitioners claim were spurious and have exonerated him from the allegation.

"The price list in the PAN 407 allegation was forged; PAN and nobody could not authenticate the price list. They alleged that the payment for the cars was made through Zenith bank, we don’t even have an account with Zenith bank, it is the Central Bank of Nigeria that handles it because it is capital project," he said.

Bankole further explained that the petitioners were so desperate in their quest to get him that they forged the vouchers of the Management of the National Assembly for the purchase of the cars.

On the latest allegation by the progressives, he said that the case is before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, adding that people should wait for the outcome of their investigation into the case before drawing conclusions.

Thereafter, the Speaker yielded the floor to the Chairman of the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Hon Sani Saleh Minjibir to explain what measures the House is taking on the allegations against him.

Minjibir stated that the actions of the suspended members brought shame and disrepute to the House of Representatives as an institution, adding that nevertheless, the committee is investigating the allegations.

He said that they should have exploited avenues provided by the House rather than take the matter into their hands, adding that the way the case was handled by the House was different from Etteh’s own because of the difference in the cases.

"Etteh’s issue was different when you compare it with the current issue against the leadership of the House", he said, adding, "On the issue of Dino and the Progressives, we must understand that under the law, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty."

He however added that the Ethics and Privileges committee has already started looking at the allegations with a view to ensuring that justice is served.

"Sani Saleh Minjibir is not anybody’s boy; we will do justice to this matter," he stressed.