RESIGNATION THREATS: BANKOLE FAULTS DOCUMENTS FROM HIS ACCUSERS
As the seven-day ultimatum given the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole by a group of lawmaker lapses today, sets has again debunked allegations of corruption and mismanagement levelled against him, saying that documents brandished by his accusers are not genuine.
In fact, he said the so-called incriminating documents were under probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
The Progressives group of lawmakers led by Mr Dino Melaye had last week addressed journalists where they gave the Speaker seven days to resign or be disgraced out of office. The lawmakers alleged that they were in possession of incriminating documents to nail the Speaker and that they were ready to release the documents to the public after the expiration of the ultimatum.
But Bankole had last Friday told airport correspondents in Lagos that he was not rattled by the allegations because there was no substance in it.
On his way out of the country on a trip to Russia on Monday he once again stated that those persecuting him had nothing to back up the allegations levelledd against him.
'The day Mrs Waziri came to my office on my invitation to investigate some of the documents, you will recall that the story was twisted when a newspaper slammed the headline the following day with a caption: EFCC Quizzes Bankole. Even the EFCC was alarmed and had to do a retraction immediately.'
While he would refrain from pre-empting the outcome of investigations by both the EFCC and ICPC on the documents, particularly on car purchase, Bankole noted that it had been established that the documents were fake as they were forged by those who in their desperation were hell bent to implicate him.
The Speaker said despite the denting of his image by the allegation levelled against him, he would not begrudge any member of The Progressives whom he described as personal friends, and with whom he said he shares close affinity as colleagues.
On the threat to release any documents on him, he stated that he was not rattled by such threats, contending that the documents being referred to were already in the custody of the anti-graft agencies including the EFCC, ICPC, SSS and even the Presidency.
For most of his colleagues, he stated that they did not know that he had personally invited the EFCC to investigate some of the documents meant to be used in blackmailing him long before now.
Bankole said the law in place did not permit him to approve any expenditure to the tune of N2.3 billion. According to him, only the management of the National Assembly could spend such amount with the approval of the House through a resolution.
He said when the issue of purchase of cars for members came up, it never crossed his mind to act alone. 'I took the matter to the House which in turn took a resolution that the management should handle the process,' he said.
The embattled Speaker said he could not have fallen easily to the trap on car purchase having been familiar with the similar allegations against the former Speaker, Mrs Particia Olubunmi Etteh on House renovation which led to her forced resignation from office.