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Can of worms at Mantu’s trial• Reps, too, vow to nail him

Posted by By BASHIR UMAR and JAMES OJO, Abuja on 2006/04/11 | Views: 643 |

Can of worms at Mantu’s trial• Reps, too, vow to nail him


The Senate committee on Ethics and Petitions investigating misdemeanour “unbecoming of a senator” against the Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu, began sitting in Abuja on Tuesday with a revelation of how the deputy senate president allegedly made the upper chamber pay N90 million on house rent and furnishing of a posh apartment in Asokoro said to belong to him.

The Senate committee on Ethics and Petitions investigating misdemeanour “unbecoming of a senator” against the Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu, began sitting in Abuja on Tuesday with a revelation of how the deputy senate president allegedly made the upper chamber pay N90 million on house rent and furnishing of a posh apartment in Asokoro said to belong to him.

A former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) and now senator, Nuhu Aliyu, opened the can of worms, while testifying before the Senator Titus Olapitan headed panel.

The former police boss alleged that Mantu got paid “to himself a rent of N50 million and N40 million for furnishing an apartment which belongs to him,” violating rules and procedure of the senate.

Senator Aliyu who represents Niger State recalled that it was the opinion of
majority senators during an executive session that the Federal Capital Development Authority FCDA should be contacted to hurry up and complete the official residence of the deputy senate president “since it is their responsibility by law”.

But “Senator Mantu then proposed that because the FCDA Minister did not like him, he should take a rented apartment, and that the Estate Department of the Senate had already verified the apartment, while the landlord was willing to give a discount”.
Senator Aliyu said at that point Senator Isa Muhammed had to appeal to the senators to sacrifice N500,000 each from their quarterly votes (100 of them) minus the principal officers, which amounted to N50 million

“To our surprise, the ownership of the said house in Asokoro has been revealed as Senator Mantu’s, rather than a so-called former Minister of Communication, Dr. Muhammed Bello”, Aliyu submitted.
On the N40 million used for furnishing the house, Senator Aliyu said the furniture allowance withdrawn by Senator Mantu was “simply a manipulation of the rules and violation of the financial regulations,” since furnishing the residence of principal officers including the deputy senate president, was the responsibility of the FCDA because it is deemed to be government property.

Worse still, he said, “there is no resolution of the senate approving the said amount for him (Mantu) either in the executive session, committee of the whole or plenary session. I challenge him to come up with such evidence”, the principal witness said.

“There was an attempt to cover up this financial recklessness and outright embezzlement of public fund which the then Chairman of the Senate Services Committee, Senator Ben Obi and other members like senators Rufai Hanga and Tokunbo Afikuyomi can further substantiate”, he alleged.

On the allegation of financial involvement of Senator Mantu as the Amirul-Hajj of 2004 and 2005, Senator Nuhu Aliyu said a Committee Report of the House of Representatives had already indicted the deputy senate president and it was unanimously adopted by the plenary session of the House.

He tendered the House Notice of Indictment, the notes of Committee proceedings and full committee report.
He had earlier tendered the tapes of an AIT interview in which Senator Mantu described the National Assembly as the “largest rumour industry in Nigeria”, the transcript and the Letter of Approval for renting the house of Senator Mantu amounting to N50 million as exhibits.

Senator Aliyu said he was at the final stage of collating appropriate evidence of the N400 million sourced from business concerns by Senator Mantu while he preferred to tender the evidence on the $37,000 given some members of the JCRC in a close door session.

The committee chairman Senator Olupitan earlier told the crowd in the Senate Hearing Room 2, venue of the investigation that the committee, during its sitting, would be discharging its duty dispassionately while every bit of evidence would be treated with all the seriousness it deserved.

However, the committee has summoned Senators Idris Ibrahim Kuta, Tokunbo Afikuyomi, Rufai Hanga, Lawal Shuaibu and Ben Obi as well the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ibrahim Arab, his deputy, Mr. Ogunyomi the Director of Finance, Mr. Adelami and the Auditor of the National Assembly, who Senator Aliyu said possessed some relevant documents.

Meanwhile, trouble seems not to be over for the embattled deputy senate president, as the House of Representatives probing his handling of the 2005 Hajj Tuesday vowed to expose his alleged shady deals in Jeddah.
Chairman, House Sub Committee on Hajj, Musa Bature, who for the second time waited in vain for Mantu, to appear before him said that what happened in Jeddah would be made known to the public after listening to the submissions of the Department of Pilgrims Affairs (DPA).

“There are lots of revelations that will come. We have invited the DPA, when they might have appeared before us, we will then open up and people will see, We will open a can of worms,” he assured.
Bature challenged the Deputy Senate President to publish in newspapers as he alleged in a television interview, names, passport numbers and the amount of bill incurred by committee members that performed the 2005 pilgrimage to Mecca.

Short of calling Mantu a liar, he averred that the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Usman Bugaje, who Senator Mantu alleged to have stayed with him at the Crown Hotel in Jeddah had never been to Mecca as a pilgrim in the past two years.

Bature noted that instead of members of the committee being accommodated at Crown Hotel, a 5-Star hotel, members had to stay at Jeddah Home, a hotel of low standards, contrary to the claims of the Amirul Hajj.

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Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

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Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

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Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown