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Iyabo not in my custody – David Mark

Posted by By BASHIR UMAR, Abuja on 2008/04/23 | Views: 1832 |

Iyabo not in my custody – David Mark


The Senate has denied that Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello has been hiding in the residence of Senate President David Mark, even as it would not disclose her whereabouts since her disappearance from the chamber in the last two weeks.

The Senate has denied that Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello has been hiding in the residence of Senate President David Mark, even as it would not disclose her whereabouts since her disappearance from the chamber in the last two weeks.

Briefing Senate Correspondents on Thursday, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Information, Ayogu Eze said: “It is not true that Iyabo Obasanjo is hiding in the Senate President’s house. The house is very open both at the gate and inside and anyone can go there to verify anytime of the day.”

Senator Eze, however, failed to reveal the whereabouts of Senator Obasanjo-Bello, saying Senator Kanti Bello who was mandated by the apex lawmaking body to find her since last week was yet to do so. He also refused to disclose if her colleagues in the Senate contacted her on phone.

“I did tell you yesterday (Tuesday) that when due process is followed, nobody can find an excuse to say she is missing, she is not missing. She is not hiding in the Senate President’s house. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello I am sure will be ready to go to court to answer to charges if there are any,” he added.

The Senate spokesman also said that; “Senator Mark is the chairman of the National Assembly, he is the President of the Senate and he is therefore the manager of all the members of the National Assembly. I believe that if there is a case against anybody in the National Assembly, it will be proper for the Senate President to have full brief of what is happening before allowing such a person to face the situation.”

He said if the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) followed due process, “The date that Iyabo Obasanjo is to appear in court, she will keep the appointment. This country is one that presently emphasizes due process and rule of law and these must be followed in this matter. There is no reason why the Senate President would harbour anyone in his house.”

Asked when Iyabo would be made available to face charge in court, Senator Eze retorted: “Why can’t you wait for the arbiter to come out with the judgment. The EFCC cannot really make a pronouncement on guilt, that is not part of the law we passed. The law does not empower EFCC to make pronouncement on guilt. They would make investigations, find concrete evidence and transfer to the arbiter.

The matter is right now before the arbiter and I want to say as I have said before that if Iyabo Obasanjo is found wanting in this matter, the Senate will not stand with her. This goes to any other senator that falls below expectations. But we cannot do that until there is a clear evidence that she is found wanting. We cannot pronounce her guilty before she is guilty; we are not empowered to do so.

“I believe that we should de-emphasize the culture of presuming somebody guilty before judgment is passed. It not for you and I or you or I to pronounce a particular judgment, it would be prejudicing the work of the law courts. The EFCC that took her to court in its own wisdom is not a stupid organization. In fact, I read in some newspapers today where the EFCC said they know where she is.”

On the issue of Senate pronouncing Obasanjo-Bello not guilty, Senator Ayogu Eze said: “Nobody has cleared her. What we said was that we reviewed the processes and procedures surrounding the release of the money to the committee on health. We found out that, the committee on health did not do anything wrong or anything unethical. At the time the money was given to them to facilitate their trip, nobody told them it was from the stolen money.”

Senator Obasanjo-Bello as the chairman of the Senate Health Committee was allegedly involved in sharing the N300 million unspent funds of the Ministry of Health contrary to directive of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.