10th May, 2012
There has been uneasy calm in the Kwara State House of Assembly over allegations of fraud running into millions of naira against the Speaker, Razak Atunwa.
Alleging that the Speaker was running the affairs of the house like a fiefdom while also unilaterally awarding contracts to himself without due process, the petitioner, Iliasu Ibrahim, who is also the Chief Whip of the house said the Speaker, “re-awarded a contract for an already functional website at the cost of N33, 888,700 via a memo coded KWHA/S/35/121/82 of 19th March, 2012.
“Atunwa had through a memo titled KWHA/5/135/Vol./455 and dated March 12, 2012 sought to collect another N81, 500,000 for projects not approved by the House and without the knowledge of other principal officers.”
The petitioner also wans the Speaker to account for the sum of N135, 000,000 released for the recent overseas trip and how much has so far been released for capital projects between 2011 and 2012 and how much has been spent.
He also wants to know how the sum of N15 million released for the hosting of the North-Central Forum of Speakers was spent.
Reacting, Atunwa, who described the allegations as malicious and outright falsehood, said that he immediately forwarded the petition dated 2 May to the House Committee on Ethics to ensure that the petition is thoroughly investigated while the committee is mandated to report its findings and make recommendations to the whole House.
According to Atunwa, the allegation of re-award of the House website contract does not arise because the House does not have a functional web to date.
He said: “I have defended myself before the House Committee and the full report of its investigation would be sent to the whole House at the end of their investigation for deliberation and appropriate action.”
He therefore appealed to members to remain calm and allow the Ethics and Privileges Committee to do its job, assuring that at the end he would be vindicated.
By Stephen Oni/Ilorin