Group wants National Assembly leadership investigated for money laundering

The Nigerian Senate
The Nigerian Senate

A civic group has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over an alleged case of money laundering in banking transactions involving the National Assembly between 2009 and 2015.

In the petition, signed by the chairman of the Civil Society Network against Corruption, CSNAC, Olanrewaju Suraju, the coalition stated that the federal legislature led by the Clerk, Salisu Maikasuwa, his predecessor, Yemi Ogunyomi, and their representatives, extensively violated the Money Laundering Act (2004, 2011) in banking transactions leading to the withdrawals of about N42 billion of public funds.

Taking its cue from a PREMIUM TIMES report, Mr. Suraju noted that it is unfortunate that lawmakers and the parliament, paid billions of naira from the nation’s resources as remuneration for law making, acted the way they did.

Quoting the report, CSNAC said, “the excessive cash withdrawals spanned the tenures of three Clerks to the National Assembly — Nasiru Arab, Yemi Ogunyomi and the incumbent, Mr. Maikasuwa — with the largest withdrawals made during the reign of the last two.

“Between 2009 and 2015, Messrs Arab, Ogunyomi and Maikasuwa, listed as permanent secretary/clerk in the withdrawal documents, withdrew a total of N6.37 billion from GTB and UBA. While the sum of N4.78 billion was withdrawn by both men from GTB between September 9, 2009 and August 14, 2015, a total of N1.59 billion was withdrawn from the UBA between January 1, 2011 and August 8, 2015 by Mr. Maikasuwa.

“Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and 49 others who were members of the Senate Committee on the review of the 1999 constitution also made large withdrawals. . The committee made two transfers from the UBA account – N1.75 billion on November 17, 2014 and N878.6m on February 2, 2015. This does not violate the Money Laundering Act but the purpose of the withdrawals remained unclear.

“Senators Ayogu Eze(Enugu), Eyinnaya Abaribe (Abia), Anthony Manze and Umaru Dahiru (Sokoto) were also beneficiaries of the withdrawals by the committee. However their transactions did not violate the Act but smack of corruption.

“In the House, some beneficiaries include the current Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, former Majority Leader, MulikatAdeola, Nkeiruka Onyejiocha, Chinyere Igwe, EziucheUbani, Umar Bature, Mohammed Sani Tahir, EhiogieIdahosa-West. The offices of the former Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal and his former deputy, Emeka Ihedioha were also beneficiaries. They were paid N25m and N8.4m, respectively from the Guaranty Trust Bank account.”

Expressing its displeasure on the development, CSNAC said, “It is quite unfortunate that lawmakers and the Parliament, paid billions of naira from the nation’s resources as remuneration for law making, will turn out to be the chief violators of the laws they enacted. It is beyond imagination and heart rendering, reading the gravity of violations and movement of cash by the legislators, some of which were for reasons unknown.

“CSNAC is therefore by this petition demanding that the commission conducts a thorough investigation into the issues raised herein, as well as ensure that the appropriate punishments are meted out to all the perpetrators; including the banks that allowed these infractions continue without reporting to the appropriate authority.”


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