2019 Election Sequence: Senate probes bribery allegation against members

Nigerian Senate Chambers
Nigerian Senate Chamber used to illustrate the story.

The Senate on Tuesday resolved to mandate its committee on ethics and privileges to, within one week, investigate and find out if senators were indeed involved in a $50,000 bribery scandal.

This resolution was sequel to a point of order raised by Peter Nwaboshi (PDP, Delta) in reaction to reports that members of the Senate as well as House of Representatives are collecting $50,000 and $30,000 respectively to sway their support in the current moves to amend the electoral act.

According to Sun Newspaper, sources revealed that ”pro-Executive Senators and members of the House of Representatives” have been lined up to receive $50,000 and $30,000, respectively, while ”anti-executive lawmakers, who have cases with anti-corruption agencies, will be threatened with prosecution,” in days to come.

The Sun also reported that some key members of the executive, who have been spearheading strategies for President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in 2019, were poised to stop the National Assembly from going ahead with plans to veto the president on the election re-ordering captured in the new the Electoral Act (amendment) Bill.

To achieve this, sources said “$50,000 and $30,000 have been earmarked for each lawmaker in exchange for their support.”

Coming under order 15, Mr Nwaboshi described the report as very unfortunate and called for immediate investigation into the matter.

“Only yesterday, the social media and the newspapers were filled with claims that the senate of the federal republic of Nigeria and even the house of reps, are collecting $50,000 and $30,000 respectively.

“This is very unfortunate. It impugns on my privileges as a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My constituents have been calling me; some of them have been asking me to bring their own money out of what I have collected and I know that I didn’t collect anything.

“I know that many of you did not collect that money. Front page of Sun newspaper carries it, showing that monies are being shared and many meetings have been held. I want to move that this matter be investigated.

He said investigation into the matter would show the transparency of the legislative process.

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“Some of us who have no hand, and who did not participate and who will never participate in such act, can be cleared and our constituents can be in a position to know that we did not participate in such a thing,” he said.

Mao Ohabunwa (PDP, Abia), described the issue as ‘scandalous’ and declared that he has no knowledge about it.

“I find this scandalous. And for a senate, the highest lawmaking body of any country to be so accused, I stand here to declare and say that I know nothing about this and I believe same for most of us, if not all of us. This issue must be thoroughly investigated to let the public know the integrity of this house.

“We should mandate the committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions to find out which senators or those from the villa involved and bring them to book,” he said.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, thereafter, urged the senators to “hold their comments until the end of the investigation.”

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