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Fayose, deputy face impeachment

Posted by By Kayode Fasua on 2006/10/02 | Views: 358 |

Fayose, deputy face impeachment


A historical end draws near for the reign of Ekiti state governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose and his deputy, Mrs Abiodun Olujimi as the state’s House of Assembly on Friday gave notice for their impeachment from office.

A historical end draws near for the reign of Ekiti state governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose and his deputy, Mrs Abiodun Olujimi as the state’s House of Assembly on Friday gave notice for their impeachment from office.

With the lawmakers’ action, the stage has thus been set for a fell swoop removal of the twosome, an event that has never happened in Nigeria.

Earlier on Thursday, the lawmakers had been invited to Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and grilled over some allegations of fraud. The lawmakers were however left off the EFCC’s hook on Friday following which they returned home to serve impeachment notice on the governor and his deputy.

In the notice of impeachment, signed by 23 out of the 26 members of the house, Fayose is being accused of gross misconduct and abuse of office. Principally, the house levelled six allegations of illegal operation of operating foreign accounts and graft, against him. They include:

¸ Operation of foreign account with the Bank of America, United States, with VISA CREDIT No. 45397806 and 28083056 valid until August, 2007, contrary to the provisions of Paragraph 3 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

¸ Operation of foreign accounts Nos: 50633925, 60642924 and 80809594 kept with Barclays Bank Plc. 38, Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London

¸ Diversion from the Ekiti State Joint Local Government Account, the sum of N11.7 billion received from the Federation Account.

¸ Receipt of the sum of #37,00 (Thirty Seven Thousand Pound Sterling only) from the Biological Concepts Ltd. Knowing it to be the proceeds of the poultry project embarked upon by the state government.

¸ Receipt of a house lying and being at 10, Kobiowu Crescent, Iyaganku, Ibadan,Oyo state valued at over N40million, built from the proceeds of the poultry project.

¸ Another property at Ibadan valued at N20million built from the proceeds of contracts to build the governor’s office; property at Afao, his hometown, valued at N25million, being proceeds from contract for the building of Fountain Hotel and and receipt of N42million, being proceeds of contract for the building of same hotel.

¸ As for Olujimi, the lawmakers accused her of collecting $50,000 out of the poultry project loot and for failing to undergo the mandatory National Youth Service, since she obtained her Batchelors degree.
Already, a personal assistant to the governor, Goke Olatunji and a state government contractor and associate of the governor, Gbenga James, are facing several charges of money laundering and embezzlement from funds meant for the state’s integrated poultry project. They are being tried at a Lagos Federal High Court.

Though Olatunji and James have been admitted to bail, it was gathered that they could not perfect the bail and are still being remanded at the EFCC office in Lagos. The EFCC said it was constrained by immunity enjoyed by Fayose and Olujimi whom it said should have faced trial for allegedly embezzling parts of the funds meant for the poultry project.
Sources at the commission revealed to our correspondent that the Ekiti house members were brought to Lagos for the second time running, in continuation of EFCC probe of the N1.3billion poultry project. Some of the lawmakers are being accused of complicity in the sharing of the poultry funds.

Besides, the commission received a petition from an Ekiti lawyer, Morakinyo Ogele, in which he accused two members of the house of illegal diversion of N300million contract sum for the construction of Igbemo-Ire road. Ogele in his petition dated September 19, 2006, tasked the EFCC to seek explanations from the two members, regarding the road project. “That road was badly executed yet the contractor ran away with N300million”, he complained in his petition.

Ogele alleged further that the two lawmakers collected N1.7million each from the governor last July under the pretence that they were going to Germany for vacation but failed to undertake the trip.
It was gathered that 19 of the lawmakers, while at the EFCC office, admitted collecting N2million bribe each from the governor’s men to facilitate the impeachment of then deputy governor, Chief Abiodun Aluko.
Saturday Sun further learnt that the EFCC received petitions accusing the lawmakers of siphoning N1million from monthly federal allocations due to each local government. The deduction, it was learnt adds up to N16million every month and serves the purpose of a thrift, rotating among the lawmakers, with a new member collecting the loot every month.

Our sources said that holes of criminal offences had been largely dug around the Ekiti lawmakers, who had no choice than to fully assist the EFCC in its wish for the impeachment of Fayose and Olujimi, to enable them face prosecution.

With the notice of impeachment, the state’s Chief Judge is expected to constitute a seven-man judicial panel to try the allegations within seven days. Fayose and Olujimi are expected to defend themselves before the panel. The panel’s report, if it indicts the two office holders and is adopted, then the end would have come for the governor and his deputy.

To fill the vacuum that the exit of the duo create, the Speaker of the House then takes over as acting Governor, pending the conduct of by-elections to fill the two offices. However, Saturday Sun gathered that the present Speaker might not be the one to enjoy the post, as there is also a parallel plot to impeach him and his deputy, along with other principal officers of the house. In fact, speculations are that the Speaker and his Deputy might in fact be removed before the house moves on Fayose and Olujimi.

Meanwhile, the EFCC has responded to the development in Ekiti by washing its hands off the impeachment plot. Spokesman for the commission, Osita Nwajah, gave graphic explanations on the quizzing of the lawmakers but said the impeachment moves against the governor and his deputy are independent actions by the lawmakers.

His words: “The lawmakers came and answered questions about their constituency projects and were granted bail on self recognition yesterday (28-09-06) and they all left to go and bring documents they said they had, to buttress their defence.

“We’re not aware of the impeachment you’re talking about. Certainly, whatever they do after leaving EFCC is their business. But, it’s a welcome development. If indeed they have commenced impeachment proceedings against Mr. Fayose, if it sails through, we can then proceed with criminal action against him”.

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.