23rd June, 2010
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has added its voice to the call for a probe of the alleged misappropriation of funds by the leadership of the House of Representatives.
In a letter sent to the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Emmanuel Ayoola, SERAP asked the anti-corruption agency to probe the alleged N9 billion expended on cars between 2009 and 2010 by the leadership of the House.
The letter, entitled: ‘Re: Request To Investigate Fresh Allegations of Corruption in the House of Representatives,’ and signed by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation, whose mandate includes the promotion of transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors, said the allegations would undermine the credibility of the legislative process, and impede the ability of the House of Representatives to effectively perform its constitutional oversight role or to provide the necessary leadership in the anti-corruption fight in the country.
â€œAccording to our information, on May 28, 2008, the leadership of the House of Representatives approved the purchase of four units of Range Rover (V8) SUV, three units of Mercedes Benz S-600 cars for the use of the Speaker and his deputy, costing N335, 500, 000; the purchase of LCD 40 Samsung television LNS 341 for the members at N525,000 per unit, allegedly above the market price for the product, which is about N180,000; and the purchase of one unit of Sharp Copier 5316 for N270, 000, when the open market price is N160,000.
â€œSERAP is seriously concerned that the fresh allegations are coming against the background of previous allegations of corruption in the purchase of vehicles at N2.3b by the House of Representatives in 2008; and which the ICPC is currently investigating.
â€œWe are seriously concerned that the above allegations constitute grave breaches of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Act of 2000; the Public Procurement Act 2007, and the UN Convention against corruption which Nigeria has ratified.
”Specifically, the UN convention against corruption requires states parties, including Nigeria, to promote integrity, accountability and proper management of public affairs,â€ the SERAP said.
The organisation also tasked states to take measures to preserve the integrity of accounting books, records, financial statements or other documents related to public expenditure and revenue, and to prevent the falsification of such documents.