Chief Godsday Orubebe
Onwuka Nzeshi in Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday mandated its Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes as well as the Committee on Niger Delta to investigate the allegations of corruption levelled against the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godsday Orubebe by some civil society organisations.
The resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance brought before the House by Hon. Kehinde Odeneye (ACN/Ogun) at plenary.
However, Deputy Speaker of the House, Hon Emeka Ihedioha prevailed on members not to sunject the matter to debate to avoid taking sides on weighty allegations that were yet to be investigated and proven.
According to the motion, the ninister has been accused of paying for some phantom projects and resides in a house built and handed over to him by SETRACO, a construction company said to be involved in some government contracts.
Odeneye claimed that the minister’s failure to declare the said house on his asset declaration form with Code of Conduct Bureau, was an act of corruption.
“These weighty allegations were at first peremptorily rubbished and dismissed by the minister as handiwork of his detractors and some mischief makers who were out for extortion. Since then, he has unfortunately labored hard on media to belie these revelations. But any time he comes up with his purported facts, they have been further proven to be mere tissues of lies by superior disclosure of more facts by the anti-corruption outfits.
“For instance he posited that he was a seating tenant at his Mabushi multi-billion naira home but searches his from Abuja Geographic and Information Services proves beyond reasonable doubt that the property is not only his but it is in his name. This single irrefutable fact establishes beyond reasonable doubt that the Hon. Minister refused to declare the said house in his asset declaration form which he made on oath,” the motion said.
The petitioners expressed dismay that neither EFCC nor ICPC has deemed it fit to investigate these allegations.
“We have seen how these agencies zealously pursue others far less allegations. Their silence on this matter is casting a very serious doubt on President Jonathan’s acclaimed crusade against corruption.
“It is too late for the House to back down on fight against corruption. We have already set a precedent that the Executive must follow if it means business with its fight against corruption. When it affected our members even on trump-up charges, we shielded none. It would amount to a great travesty if we do not do justices or ensure that justice is done in this matter.
“We cannot allow Anti-Corruption outfits to take our place as the legitimate voice of our over oppressed people, ” he said.
The Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes and the Committee on Niger Delta has twenty one days to investigate the allegations and make appropriate recommendations.