LAWMAKERS POCKET N7BN IN 4 YEARS FOR CONSTITUTION REVIEW

Nigerian federal lawmakers, led by incumbent Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, and former Deputy Speaker Emeka Ihedioha, withdrew a princely N7.75 billion of public funds in four years to purportedly review sections of the 1999 Constitution, PREMIUM TIMES can authoritatively report today.

In an investigation lasting months, this newspaper found that between 2011 and 2015, the 53-member House of Representatives Ad-hoc Constitution Review Committee and its 49-member counterpart in the Senate in the 7th National Assembly withdrew N3,250,000,000.00 and N4,500,000,000.00 respectively to purportedly execute the fourth alteration of the Constitution.

It is not immediately clear how the lawmakers spent the outrageous funds but insiders say a huge chunk of it was pocketed by members of the committees in what one source described as ‘unprecedented naira bazaar’ by a committee of the National Assembly’.

It is not immediately clear how the lawmakers spent the outrageous funds but insiders say a huge chunk of it was pocketed by members of the committees in what one source described as ‘unprecedented naira bazaar’ by a committee of the National Assembly’.

Officials of the committees continued to make withdrawal even long after the exercise was concluded. It remains unclear what those withdrawals were spent on.

The Committees, which operated independently, withdrew the monies in tranches from their accounts domiciled in an Abuja branch of the Guarantee Trust Bank.

Curiously, some of the withdrawals were made long after they submitted their final reports to both chambers for consideration and a few weeks before the general elections and the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly.

The Senate Committee was statutorily chaired by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, while the House Committee was headed by the then Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha.

Mr. Ekweremadu was re-elected in the March 28 senatorial election but Mr. Ihedioha failed in his bid to be elected governor of his native Imo State in the April 11 election.

Documents obtained by PREMIUM TIMES showed that the House Committee withdrew N500m of public funds on December 16, 2011; N500m on May 17, 2012; N250m on October 29, 2012; N250m on May 8, 2013; N250m on August 6, 2013; and N250m on November 11, 2013.

On February 20, 2014, it withdrew N250m; another N250m on May 27, 2014; N250m on August 21, 2014; N166.5m on a date not specified; and N83.5m on December 5, 2014.

The Committee further withdrew N83.33m on March 2, 2015 and the same amount on March 23, five days before the Presidential and National Assembly elections and on April 13, barely two days after this year’s governorship election.

PREMIUM TIMES checks revealed that the National Assembly was not in session at the time of the elections, and the committee had long concluded its assignments suggesting the withdrawals were dubious.

Read more at: http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/194958-investigation-how-ekweremadu-other-nigerian-lawmakers-pocketed-n8-billion-in-failed-constitution-amendment.html

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