A Civil Society organisation, Citizens Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN) has alleged to have unearthing what it called ‘a huge financial theft, fraud and corruption to the value of N630,125,499.90 involving principal officers of the National Assembly.
The organisation in a statement signed by its Co-convener Ibrahim Garba Wala and made available to newsmen in Abuja on Monday, alleged that Senate President Bukola Saraki (Senate President), Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara and Deputy Speaker House of Representatives Yusuf Lasun using the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) as a front misappropriated the said amount under the guise of renting, renovation and furnishing of fictitious official residences.
The Statement read:
The National Assembly as an independent arm of government has all its statutory earnings and allowances properly fixed and spelt out by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Act, 2002. This same law gives the National Assembly the power and control over her own budget and expenditure, including payment of all forms of allowances, and according to the RMAFC the remuneration package for political, public and judicial office holders is calculated in relation to the percentages of their annual basic salaries. For example, each Nigerian Senator receives 150% of his/her annual basic salary as accommodation allowance while each member of our Federal House of Representatives gets same equivalent. This percentage is also applicable for their furniture allowances yearly.
In view of this, the appropriate accommodation allowance for the Senate President is Three Million, Seven hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira Only (N3,720,000.00) and that of his Deputy is Three Million, Four Hundred and Fifty One Thousand, Five Hundred Naira Only (N3,451,500.00). In the case of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, his accommodation allowance is Three Million, Seven Hundred and Five Thousand Naira (N3,705,000.00)while his deputy is entitled to Three Million, Four Hundred and Thirty Five Thousand naira only (N3,435,000.00).
Authoritatively, CATBAN has established that the National Assembly has always enjoyed stable and steady receipt of its allocations and allowances. This means that all members of the National Assembly, including the principal officers of both chambers have been receiving these statutory allocations promptly and as at when due, including that of their accommodation & furnishing.
As an organization that has sworn to fight graft & instill good governance in public service in Nigeria, we were faced with a difficult question after it emerged from our preliminary investigations that these Principal Officers of the National Assembly impressed it on the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to provide them with accommodation, knowing fully well that the Monetization Policy prohibits the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) or any agency of government from using taxpayers money to meet up to personal demands of public officers outside the provisions of the law.
WHAT CATBAN HAS UNCOVERED AND WISHES TO PRESENT TO THE PUBLIC IS NOT JUST A MERE CASE WHERE THESE PRINCIPAL OFFICERS OF OUR NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FALSELY CLAIMED MONEY FROM FCDA ON THE GUISE OF SEEKING OFFICIAL ACCOMMODATION, BUT RATHER A CLEAR CASE OF ABUSE OF POWER, STEALING, CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY AND DECEPTIVE USE OF SEEKING ACCOMMODATION AS A PLOY TO ENRICH THEMSELVES WITH PUBLIC FUNDS.
We thus hereby present a report on our findings as follows:
Sometime in the month of March 2016, the principal officers of the National Assembly clandestinely approached the management of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) to provide them with residential accommodation, being a follow up to an orchestrated plan perfected earlier by a loyal agent acting between the National Assembly and FCDA, to steal money through false accommodation request. To buttress the fact that these plans were perfected before the request, the speed & dispatch used in accepting, approving & disbursing hundreds of millions of naira for the so called residential accommodation was within 48hours.
The principal officers of our National Assembly presented companies that acted both as Estate Agents & Property Owners for the exercise, to which the monies for renting, renovation & furnishing were paid to by FCDA.
The companies are:
GOGETIT INVESTMENT LTD with account in Zenith Bank,
LEGENDARK CONSULT LTD with account in Guaranty Trust Bank,
PITCH GLOBAL SERVICES with account in Heritage Bank.
Through these companies, the sum of Six Hundred & Thirty Million, One Hundred & Twenty Five Thousand, Four Hundred & Ninety Nine Naira, Ninety Kobo (N630,125,499.90) was fraudulently paid by the FCDA for the purported renting, renovation & furnishing of four (4) properties as official accommodation for the said individuals.
From uncovered evidence, Sen. Bukola Saraki & Hon. Yakubu Dogara presented their personal residential properties to serve as the purportedly rented houses, while Sen. Ike Ekweremadu & Hon. Yusuf Larsun didn’t present any residential property at all but simply collected & pocketed their share of the money.
Each of the above named individuals, with the help of the companies above, made a claim for the rent, renovation and furnishing for the fictitious houses.
SEN. BUKOLA SARAKI presented one of his properties acquired since he was Governor of Kwara State, located at No. 48 Lake Chad Crescent, Maitama District, Abuja and received the following sums:
Rent – N113,095,238.00 + N11,904,761.90 (VAT)
Furnishing – N67,857,142.86 + N7,142,857.14 (VAT)
Total – N199,999,999.90
HON. YAKUBU DOGARA presented one of his properties still under construction, located at No.9 Persian Gulf Close, off Euphrates Street, Wuse 2, Abuja (recently constructed by A. A. Oil) and received the following sums:
Rent – N72,833,333.32 + N7,666,666. 68 (VAT)
Furnishing – N63,146,500.00 + N6,647,000.00 (VAT)
Total – N150,293,500.00
SEN. IKE EKWEREMADU presented no residential property, yet received as follows
Rent – N90,476,190.76 + N9,525,809.24 (VAT)
Furnishing – N45,084,285.72 + N4,745,714.28 (VAT)
Total – N149,832,000.00
SEN. YUSUF LARSUN also presented no residential property, yet received as follows:
Rent – N62,428,571.42 + N6,571,428.58 (VAT)
Furnishing – N55, 190,476.18 + N5,809,523.82 (VAT)
Total – N130,000,000.00
GRAND TOTAL OF PUBLIC FUNDS STOLEN – N630,125,499.90
It is important to note that despite the fact that these individuals collected a total of N28,623,000.00 being their legally approved rent & furniture allowances as stipulated by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) Act & representing 300% of their annual basic salaries, they still went ahead to connive & fraudulently collect a whooping N630,125,499.90 of taxpayers money from FCDA to share, claiming same for rent & furnishing.
These findings and revelations have not only put to question the integrity & moral standing for these individuals to preside over the affairs of our legislature, but has also brought to fore the endemic corruption going on in our National Assembly, supported by individuals voted in by their constituents to represent their interests & make laws, but who have rather ganged up to fight for personal interests even when such includes defrauding the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
BASED ON THE ABOVE, WE DEMAND AN IMMEDIATE REFUND OF OUR TAXPAYERS MONEY STOLEN BY THESE PRINCIPAL OFFICERS, AND SUBSEQUENTLY CALL ON THE NIGERIAN POLICE FORCE AND ALL RELEVANT AGENCIES TO WADE INTO THE SITUATION AND ENSURE THAT JUSTICE IS SERVED. WE ALSO WANT TO REMIND ALL SENATORS & MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THAT THEY ARE DUTY BOUND TO ENSURE APPROPRIATE SANCTIONS AGAINST THEIR COLLEAGUES WHO HAVE SOILED THE IMAGE OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AS THEIR CONSTITUENTS ARE KEENLY WATCHING TO SEE HOW THEY RESPOND.
Let it be known that, should members of the National Assembly remain docile and fail to take appropriate action against these Principal Officers, CATBAN will turn the National Assembly Complex into a Citizens Square, where decisions for severe political sanctions against all elected federal lawmakers currently serving under this dispensation will be made.