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Budget scandal: We took N10m, says Iyabo Obasanjo

Posted by By BASHIR UMAR, Abuja on 2008/04/05 | Views: 723 |

Budget scandal: We took N10m, says Iyabo Obasanjo


Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello on Tuesday broke her silence over alleged involvement in the N300m scandal at the Ministry of Health, saying she received N10 million on behalf of the Senate Committee on health.

Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello on Tuesday broke her silence over alleged involvement in the N300m scandal at the Ministry of Health, saying she received N10 million on behalf of the Senate Committee on health.

In a statement issued in Abuja and signed by the committee’s secretary, Obasanjo-Bello said her committee took the money “to support the retreat in Ghana which was planned to review and conclude the National Health Policy Bill pending since the last Senate.”

According to her, “this is an executive bill and the committee notes that the support of the retreat by the Federal Ministry of Health is totally in consonance with Senate Rules 3 of the Senate Code of Ethics.
“The extent of the Ministry’s support was N10 million only and was received in December (2007) and duly signed for by the then Committee’s Secretary”, she argued, stressing that “the committee had the retreat in Accra, Ghana, from March 16 to 20, 2008, the period most convenient for the generality of committee members vis-à-vis programmed activities of the Senate”.

The senator who represents Ogun Central in the Upper Chamber, however, denied that her committee was involved in any shady deal. “Contrary to all the speculations, the committee was in no way involved in any alleged money sharing. The committee was not a beneficiary of any ‘Christmas bonus’ or ‘Christmas gift’, or indeed any other gift from the federal Ministry of Health.”

While defending her actions, Obasanjo-Bello quoted Rule 3 of the Senate which states that Senators shall not undertake any official foreign or domestic travel sponsored by individuals, private or corporate organizations unless such travels are in the public interest and will enhance legislative duty. “The Senate President must be notified in writing before such trips are undertaken,” she explained.

Besides, she noted that the committee must disclose the purpose, sponsors and duration of such trips to the Senate President in writing just as it would have to submit a written report on any official trip sponsored by the government, individuals, private or corporate organizations to the Senate President within four weeks of return. The same should apply to travels by any Senate Committee, she stated.

According to her, the committee, while in Ghana, had brainstorming sessions on the Bill as well as interacted with Ghana’s Health Committee of the National Assembly, Ghana’s Minister of Health, Department for International Development and Ghanaian opposition spokesman on Health as well as the former president, Jerry Rawlings.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.