The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced investigation into the series of corruption allegations leveled against Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa.
In the last six months, the embattled Speaker has come under public scrutiny after reports of fraud were levelled against him since he assumed office as Speaker in 2015.
Online new medium, Sahara Reporters had alleged that Obasa allegedly operates over 60 bank accounts and had used his office to misappropriate funds and allocate contracts to himself through third party sources, as well as other acquaintances, releasing some classified documents to back up their report.
He was also alleged to have spent N258 million to print invitation cards for the inauguration of the 9th Assembly.
The Speaker also allegedly approved N80 million as estacode for 20 wives of some lawmakers to travel to Dubai, while his wife collected N10 million monthly from the House.
Though the Speaker had consistently denied the allegations insisting that it was the handiwork of his detractors, the allegations have continued to resonate with many calling on the EFCC to investigate the weighty allegations.
To save face, the Assembly set up a nine-man ad hoc committee of the House, led by Victor Akande (Ojo Constituency 1) to investigate the allegations leveled against the Speaker.
As expected, the Committee, a week after its sitting, passed a vote of confidence in the Speaker, describing the allegations as ‘frivolous and unfounded’.
Miffed by the development, a group, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CISNAC) two weeks ago, carried out a protest at the EFCC office in Lagos and submitted a petition urging the anti-graft agency to conduct an unbiased investigation into the allegations.
Programme officer at CISNAC, Sina Odugbemi, said the Assembly could not be a judge in its own affairs, insisting that the EFCC must investigate the speaker for the public to know the truth about the allegations.
Responding to the petition, Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mohammed Rabo, said the anti-graft agency will give the petition against Obasa the attention it deserves.
“We will give it the required attention. We have our process here. This is the first process. You have submitted. We will go through it. I assure you we will give it the attention it requires. Always do your things within the ambit of the law.” Rabo said.
It was gathered from a reliable source that the anti-graft agency this week commenced investigation.
The source said that the EFCC, on Wednesday, invited some members of the House for questioning, while some other lawmakers have been scheduled to report to the office of the Commission on Monday.
“The Commission came and invited some members of the House for interrogation. Some will also report to the commission on Monday. The EFCC has started investigation,” the source said.
According to the source, the EFCC also wrote a letter to the Lagos State House of Assembly Service Commission (LAHASCOM) to explain the status of one Nike Ajibose, a staff in the Speaker’s office whose name featured prominently in some of the financial misappropriation allegations.
It was gathered that Ajibose was promoted to Level 9 without any promotional examination and was Obasa’s trusted ally who was saddled with the responsibility of arranging the Speaker’s foreign trips.
“The EFCC wrote LAHASCOM to find out if she is a member of staff or a public official as well as why she would be travelling all over and carrying money. As a civil servant it ought not to be so.
“The letter given to her perhaps it’s for Senior Special Assistant on Protocols and Foreign Affairs. So they now want to backdate the letter,” the source said.
The source said the office of the Speaker was presently in panic mode, adding that efforts are presently ongoing by some members of staff in the office to rewrite the financial records that may expose the dirty dealings in the House.
“They are really in panic mode now. They are changing documents, they are rewriting financial records. This has become a daily occurrence. Those who are regular visitors of the House would have seen them under the staircase close to the reception of the Staff building, there are loads of financial records in Ghana must go bags and they are rewriting them”.
But the source said the anti-graft commission was already in the know about moves to alter vital documents as there are reports that the documents they presently have in their possession are different from the ones produced by the House of Assembly.
“They (lawmakers) are presently scampering all over the place to make sure that their records are okay. I know very soon they will invite the Speaker because as it is now there are very weighty allegations against the Speaker and some members of the House of Assembly,” the source said.
Efforts by our reporter to reach the Spokesman for the House, Hon. Tunde Braimoh proved abortive as he did not respond to calls to his phone.