Anti-Corruption Agency Arrests Former Speaker After Siege

Oladimeji Sabur Bankole, Speaker of the Nigeri...

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Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, yesterday, swooped on the Abuja residence of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, and arrested him.

This came after several days of hide and seek game between him and the anti-graft agency over alleged financial impropriety.

His arrest was effected after the operatives laid siege to his house for four hours.

The EFCC is also going after three other principal officers of the House.

Rep. Aminu Tambuwal who has been campaigning to be the next Speaker against the zoning policy of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has been in hiding since yesterday as there were moves to arrest him.

Bankole is likely to be charged with at least four-count charge of corruption. He is likely to be prosecuted by activist Festus Keyamo, who prosecuted Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain, Chief Bode George.

Purchase of official cars

Part of the charges EFCC is going to file against Bankole, Vanguard gathered include the over invoicing in the purchase of official cars from PAN, the N10 billion loan, the House borrowed from a bank; the breach of public procurement act and another matter arising from the petition filed by former Rep. Dina Melaye

Sources close to the commission told Vanguard that the siege to Bankole’s house was to prevent him from escaping arrest. The source said that the security men had been informed that the former Speaker had planned to travel out of the country and in a bid to stop him had checked the manifest of all the airlines leaving the country  until one of his aides gave him away saying that the former speaker had planned to use the NADECO route which means travelling by road through the border.

Vanguard also gathered that the Inspector General of police had paved the way for Bankole’s arrest  by withdrawing the police orderlies protecting the former Speaker.

Meanwhile, the former speaker’s aide, Mr Idowu Bakare in a statement yesterday said Bankole and his deputy, Nafada never benefitted from the N10billion loan.

The statement said: “Contrary to media reports that the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, and his deputy, Alhaji Usman Bayero Nafada, benefitted from the increases in allowances that necessitated the taking of a N10billion loan, the former speaker and his deputy never benefitted from the loan as they received only the old rate they have been receiving before the issue of increment was recommended by a 37 member committee and endorsed by an executive session of the House.

“Before the increment, quarterly allowance to the office of the Speaker was N100 million while his deputy received N80 million.

Principal officers’ increment

“Other principal officers’ increment shows that the Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Leader and Deputy Minority Whip that have been receiving N36million per quarter received an increment of N14million to make up N50million each while the rest of the members got an increment of N14 million on the usual N28 million per quarter.

“The total sum shows that the increment amounted to N5.012billion per quarter and the loan was taken for two quarters amounting to N10.024billion plus interest.”

The loan was taken pursuant to an Executive Session decision of the House, Tuesday, March 30, 2010 where the report of a 37 member Committee set up on March 25, 2010 to look into agitation of members for enhancement of running costs of members was reported by Mr Independence Ogunewe. The report was approved by the House in executive Session of March 30, 2010.

Eze Anaba, Deputy Editor and Favour Nnabugwu | 6 June 2011| Vanguard|

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