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Looting still persists in public sector, Bankole affirms

By on March 23, 2011

SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, yesterday, declared that some corrupt Nigerians were still looting billions of Naira from the public treasury.

In an interactive session with journalists in Abeokuta, Ogun State, he said that there were too many loopholes in the system, which some crooks are exploiting to their undue advantage and canvassed urgent steps to halt the situation.

Bankole, who admitted that running the democratic government in Nigeria has become too expensive, said the National Assembly delayed passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill because of the wrong impression in some quarters that the bill was a media document.

“Another reason is that about 75 per cent of the lawmakers did not understand what the bill was all about,” he said.

The Speaker alleged that through the oversight functions of the House, which enables the legislature to investigate the executive arm of government, ministries, parastatals and agencies, the lawmakers stopped about N1 trillion from going into private pockets.

“We investigated some revenue agencies and found out that they were not returning to the treasury the money they collected. Through that act, they were swindling the state between N8 billion to N1 trillion yearly”, Bankole said.

He recalled how through the intervention of the House under his leadership, stopped the N60 billion Nnamdi Azikiwe International Abuja Airport runway contract.

Bankole also explained that the House discovered that the contract should not have cost more than N23 billion.

The Speaker denied that he made derogatory remarks on the Nigerian Judiciary to an American embassy official, saying: “I did not say what the embassy official said I told him, I never, never said so.”

The speaker said there are some institutions, which must not be desecrated, no matter what their weaknesses are and these, according to him, include the judiciary, Presidency and the National Assembly.

He disclosed that four years ago, only 18 per cent of members of the lawmakers returned to the House, while this year 45 per cent have won their parties’ tickets to contest the April polls.

Source : Guardian