… says I cannot suspend Farouk, other accused legislators
BY IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI
ABUJA – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Monday, accused the Executive arm of government in Nigeria of paying lip service to the fight against corruption, even as he decried what he termed “the culture of undue secrecy surrounding the operation of government” in the country.
Tambuwal, who was the guest speaker at the 2013 International anti-corruption day organized by the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, in Abuja, also alleged that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, was very corrupt, saying the anti-graft body never accounted for huge sums of money it received from donor agencies.
“Let us start with the anti-corruption agencies themselves. I am happy that EFCC is here because they are also corrupt. Let us start by asking them what happens to grants they receive from donor agencies which are neither budgeted nor accounted for? That is corruption.
“This is why we have asked the House Committee of EFCC to look into some of these issues and report back to the House.
“EFCC said it has started implementing the report on probe of the fuel subsidy regime. Let me say it here today that what EFCC said it is implementing is not the House report which exposed the enormous fraud in the system, but the one by Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. We have done our job, go and do yours.
“What has happened to all the exposed corruption cases? The Pension Scam, recent and obvious fraud in the Aviation sector, that of the Security and Exchange Commission, SEC, where trillions of Naira from private investors were suspected to have been mismanaged. When we commenced investigation into the matter, what became of paramount importance to the EFCC was allegation that one of our members collected money as estacode to travel but failed to do so.
“Our members were immediately rushed to court for prosecution, meanwhile, the top government officer that was found culpable in the main fraud for which the National Assembly called for public hearing, nothing has happened to her till date.
“I cannot hear or read anywhere that she was invited by the EFCC or that any member of SEC was even invited. We at the National Assembly, for the sake of probity and accountability, agreed that budgetary allocation to the Commission should be suspended, only for us to hear that the Executive found a leeway of funding the agency. We are currently investigating that.
“Coming to what happened in the Aviation industry recently, do we need an angel to report to EFCC that something happened there? No we don’t! We all belong to this country so people should stop taking us for granted,” he added.
Aside calling on the Presidency to eschew the habit of constituting committees to probe manifest acts of corruption involving highly placed public officers, the Speaker, noted that the Federal Executive Council, FEC, “which is not even known to the law, should not be used as a forum for approving and clearing contracts.”
He said: “When I raised this issue earlier, some people started attacking my personality, accusing me of confronting the office of the President. However, I still maintain that the provision of the law which requires the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, to set up a council should be respected. The process of award or review of contracts should not be a one man affair. We know that Mr Eze cannot do it alone.
“On our part, we have the desire to support the anti-corruption agencies in terms of funding, but then, our friends from the other side of government always feel that immediately they bring their budget we should quickly rubber stamp it for them to go. Yet they do not implement the budget even when it is passed. They have not even met up to 40/59% implementation till this December.
“Fight against corruption should be personalized by every Nigerian. All of us, individually and collectively have a role to play. It is my opinion that it is indeed needless for the Executive to constitute probe committees to look into allegations of corruption, especially in the public sector.