By Ajibola Abayomi.
December 23, 2017.
The Federal Government’s Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property has asked several prominent Nigerians to forfeit their residences.
Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, former Speaker of the
House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloysius Katsina-Alu and former Deputy Speaker and current Senator Usman Bayero Nafada have all been given 21 days to forfeit their residences to the federal government.
Bankole and Nafada had issues with the EFCC in the past over financial crimes allegation.
Former Senate president, David Mark, was the first to be put on notice by the panel which alleged that he acquired his then official residence as his private property.
Mark however dismissed the allegation, adding that if his investigation is linked to 2019 politics, no amount of “persecution” would alter the will of God.
The panel chaired by Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, said the five former office holders illegally acquired their then-official residences as their private properties.
A source privy to the details told Daily Trust that: “The Senate President’s residence was sold to David Mark for N748 million; Speaker, House of Representatives’ residence was sold to Honourable Dimeji Bankole for N670 million; while Deputy Senate President residence was sold to Senator Ike Ekweremadu for N458 million.
“Deputy Speaker House of Representatives residence was sold to Senator Nafada for N348.5 million; and they were all sold without competitive bidding contrary to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act especially Section 15 thereof,” adding that the residence of Juctice Katsina-Alu was sold to him at N45million.
Another source said former President Jonathan had directed that the sale of the property should be gazetted in the Federal Government Gazette in his minute in a memo sent to him by the then minister of the FCT Senator Bala Muhammad dated November 18, 2010, but that was not done.
“A gazette is a notice to the whole world of the position of government on any issue and since there was a prevailing gazette that the house bought by the plaintiff (referring to David Mark) should not be sold under Government monetization policy, the gazette would have superseded the previous one.
“So the previous gazette prevails since the sale was not gazetted. That alone has vitiated the sale. Secondly the sale is against the public procurement Act which provides any contract for a good and service must be through competitive bidding. The sale was not through competitive bidding,” he said.
He added that the houses which were not ordinary houses but institutional houses to principal officers of the National Assembly and the Executive had no right in the first place to given order for the houses to be sold.
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has ordered the immediate investigation of a contract awarded under the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan for the distribution of books to schools across the country.
The contract which was awarded in August 2013 was worth N8.68 billion for the printing and distribution of textbooks as well as library materials for public primary schools’ classes one to six and junior secondary schools.
Minister of transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said FEC also resolved to investigate the distribution of textbooks to schools in the country between 2009 and 2011. Read more: