N9B Scam: Suspended House Member Queries EFCC's Sincerity

Source: SAINT MUGAGA - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, August 01, (THEWILL) - A suspended member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Bitrus Kaze has questioned the sincerity of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in investigating allegation of corruption against the Leadership of the House over alleged mismanagement of N9 billion in 2009.

In a statement signed by him at the weekend, the lawmaker said that the N9 billion allegation against the leadership of the House remains the biggest test of seriousness of President Jonathan Goodluck’s fight against corruption.

According to him, almost nearly three years after the leadership of the House was accused of shady deals in the purchase of official vehicles valued at N2.3 billion by a Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo, the EFCC claimed it has finished the investigation yet it has refused to make the report public.

Kaze who represents Jos South Federal Constituency of Plateau State asked; "How can the EFCC keep quite over such huge public fund alleged to be stolen, but would parade other public officials from both Local, and State governments for allegations involving far less", he questioned.

"The penchant of the EFCC, to keep the public in suspense on issues of alleged corruption in the House of Reps is very curious and calls for concern."

"As it stands now, the integrity of the current administration in the country is definitely at stake because of how high profile corruption allegations against the leadership of House is handled by the EFCC.

"How the anti-corruption agencies of government handle this matter could make or mar the country’s anti-corruption credentials both locally and internationally", he said.

Kaze noted that though the House of Representatives last week said it has directed its Committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate the N9 billion allegation, he affirmed that the PML has no confidence in the Committee.

"It is unfortunate that the Chairman, House Committee on Ethics and Privileges Honourble Sani Saleh Minjibir claimed that our suspension did not exhaust the internal mechanism awaiting the House by the rules of the House, but the Committee Chairman knows very well that no one can be suspended under any rule of the House without first being heard.

"The House cannot reduce a criminal allegation involving an unaccounted expenditure of a whooping N9 billion from the public purses as its internal affair. If events of 22nd June, 2010 is an internal affairs, why did they charge Honourable Austin Nwachukwu and 3 of us to a magistrate court?" he asked.

"In their desperation to give the House leadership a clean bill of health on the N2.3b car scam, the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges publicly exhibited unethical conduct at its proceedings on Wednesday 29 October, 2008 which generated into abuses, threats and name-calling against Lagos lawyer Barr Festus Keyamo, who initiated the investigations.

"Against this backdrop therefore, we can predict that the Committee will more than likely absolve the House Leadership of any blame in their report of investigations into the N9b Capital votes," he said.