Tuesday, 28 August 2012

N78m scam: SFU probes Bayelsa Assembly

There is uneasy calm in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly over the investigation of a petition against members of the House by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police.

A group, Transparency and Good Governance Coalition (TGGC), in a petition by U. F. Mohammed and addressed to the inspector-general of police (IGP) had asked for an investigation into an alleged N78 million scam in the House of Assembly.

The petition, attached to a letter with reference number BYSHA/A/121/ 2,243, requested the police to investigate how the House spent the N78 million approved by Governor Henry Seriake Dickson for the attendance of the 43rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Africa Region Conference, Gauteng, Johannesburg, South Africa, from June 29 to July 8, 2012.

According to the petition, since members of the House did not leave Nigeria until the day the conference was scheduled to end, the IGP should investigate them and make them to refund the money they took from the Bayelsa State Government coffers if the allegation was correct.

The Special Adviser to the Speaker, Mr. Priye Kiryamo, in an interview had dismissed the petition, stressing that though members of the House did not leave Nigeria on the day they were scheduled to leave because of visa issues, they nonetheless attended the conference.

Checks indicated the SFU team from Lagos came into Yenagoa over the weekend with a letter stating their mission.

Reliable sources said the team had proceeded to the Bayelsa State House of Assembly Complex where the secretary of the Speaker was said to have received them.

The team was said to have been frustrated that no member of the House was in the complex to meet with it as workers explained that the House was already on a six weeks recess.

The team attempted to establish contact with the Speaker on phone but the connection did not go through.

The team, which decided to return to Lagos, however, dropped a letter summoning members of the House to Lagos tomorrow.

Investigations revealed that most members of the House were unhappy with the leadership over the way it was treating the matter of the petition.

They were said to have expressed bitterness that the leadership was not being pro-active on the issue, which was already embarrassing the House.

The House Committee Chairman on Information, Obiene, in an interview with Daily Sun, said he was not aware that the SFU was investigating the House.

Obiene said the House was on recess.

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