Thursday, May 19, 2011

EFCC to summon Bankole over alleged N21.3bn scam

Speaker Dimeji Bankole of the House of Representatives is to be invited for questioning by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over an alleged N21.3billion scam bordering on money laundering and gross abuse of office, sources in the commission have revealed.

The invitation followed another petition submitted to the commission yesterday by a group, Youth Anti-corruption League, demanding that the speaker be made to account for his stewardship in office.

Bankole dismisses petition against him

The petition and invitation was immediately dismissed by the speaker who, speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Bakare, described as “one of those political shenanigans that everybody is tired of.” Mr Bakare claimed ignorance of the petition.

A source in the anti–graft agency told Vanguard that “considering the plethora of petitions submitted to us, we may have no other choice than to invite him formally to answer questions on his alleged role in the whole scam.”

The group in the petition by its President, Jumoke Ilyasu, and Secretary, Bello Saleh, said:   “We are aware that your commission has received several petitions against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, about the N2.3billion car scam arising from the purchase of 407 Peogeot cars for the House of Representatives sometime in 2008.

“We are further aware that certain members of the progressives group of legislators submitted a petition against him on abuse of due process and corrupt practices associated with N9billion capital budget of the House for 2008/2009sessions and to the best of our knowledge, no visible action had been taken against him upon any of the petition.

“Only recently, allegations that the Speaker approved a loan of about N10 billion for the House without any resolution of the House supporting the alleged loan.

“Consequently, it is public knowledge that members have not received their remunerations due to the inability of the House to pay its members, following the impoundment of their statutory allocation by an old generation bank.”

“We are, therefore, calling on the EFCC to enforce the anti-corruption policy of this government by arresting and prosecuting the speaker , who should be made to account for his excesses.  If  this is not done, it would make Nigerians believe that certain category of  people are above the law.”

The Director of Operations of the anti-graft agency, Ibrahim Lamorde, in his response to the protesting youths who  carried placards with unprintable graffiti, commended the youths for their uncommon courage to come out openly to register their anger.

He said “we will look into the allegations and will need your co-operation for assistance in the course of investigation into the allegations.”

When contacted on the issue, spokesman of the body, Mr Femi Babafemi, confirmed that the petition was received

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