Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Konbowei Benson
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced investigation into the alleged N78 million fraud against the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Konbowei Benson.
In a letter of invitation dated August 6, 2012 and signed by the Head, Economic Governance of the commission, Olufunke Adetayo, said Benson was invited for the purpose of shedding light on the allegation that he collected the purported amount but failed to use it for the purpose it was meant.
EFCC sources said the invitation was at the instance of a petition to it by a civil society group under the aegis of Transparency and Good Governance Coalition in Abuja.
The Speaker was alleged to have collected N78 million from the state government under the pretext of attending the 43rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), African Regional Conference in South Africa without attending the conference.
He was accused in the petition to have allegedly forwarded a memorandum on May 2, 2012 to the governor requesting for approval and release of the sum of N78 million to enable members of the House of Assembly attend the Parliamentary Conference in South Africa.
On June 28, 2012, the governor was said to have approved the request and ordered the release of the money to the Speaker.
But the letter of invitation by the EFCC reads in part: “This commission is investigating a case of conspiracy, abuse of office and diversion of public funds in which the need to obtain clarification from you becomes imperative. In view of the above, you are kindly requested for interview by the undersigned through Mr. Obioha Okorie on August 13, 2012 at Block C, No 5 Fomella Street, off Ademola Adetokunbo Crescent, Wuse 2, Abuja by 10 am prompt.”
This request is in pursuant to Section 38 Sub 1 and 2 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act 2004 No 4.”