Fraud Allegation Against Imo Speaker Trumpeta Replies Assembly Ad-hoc Committee Samuelson: My Petition is Before EFCC, I have No Case With Lawmakers

Posted by on Apr 3rd, 2014 and filed under Frontpage. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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The publishers of Trumpeta newspapers are expected to be at the Imo State House of Assembly Complex Owerri, in response to a late minute invitation extended to it by the ad-hoc committee investigating allegations of corruption against the Speaker of the House, Rt Hon Benjamin Uwajumogu.
After series of announcements in radio stations in the state without official notification to Trumpeta newspaper, a letter signed by the committee chairman Ikenna Emeh was made available to the office before close of work for the invitation.
Even as the invitation was unwarranted considering the fact that Trumpeta is exercising its rights as a medium to enlighten, publicize inform and entertain readers using basic ethics necessary in print journalism, the publishers have decided to be at the committee room of Imo Assembly for the so-called committee job.
At first, Trumpeta management was highly excited and overwhelmed by the unsolicited publicity and advertisement, the ad-hoc committee helped to boost the soaring image of the Owerri-based tabloid.
The invitation however has exposed the lack of legislative know how of the committee members who may not be aware of the role of media in democracy and nation-building. If the lawmakers are not giving room for Imolites to doubt their credibility, they would have noted that Trumpeta’s involvement in the whole matter, that it played its statutory functions of making public allegations of fraud and accusation leveled against the office of the Speaker by a former appointee of Rt Hon Uwajumogu. In a petition addressed to the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, and copied to ICPC, Police and the Presidency, Iwuoha made several allegations. In Trumpeta’s editorial policy, the petition was given attention for public consumption.
The action of allowing the public be aware of petition written against the number three citizen of the state is not anathema in journalism practice except for the lawmakers who may be showcasing naivety and lack of sufficient knowledge about operations and duties of the media.
Suffice is to note that several national dailies are awash with several groups requesting the Presidency, National Assembly and anti-graft bodies to investigate Minister of petroleum, Mrs Deziani-Allison Madueke accused of spending quantum of millions on maintenance of an air craft. The regale about Madueke’s alleged financial misdeeds is just a drop in the ocean about plethora of complaints from several persons and groups in the media raising petitions against public office holders asking either for probe or other forms of investigations.
Either the committee headed by Emeh wants to embark on inglorious shadow boxing or intents to extend gratuitous insult on the medium it would have realized that inviting Trumpeta is unexpected of a ranking member of his caliber with background knowledge in law practice and constitutional matters, to note that the petitioner is not fictitious and his table before competent authorities for investigation.
But for the respect the medium has to constituted authorities, like the legislative arm, Trumpeta would have ignored the invitation because of the capabilities of some members of the committee handling such fraud-related investigation as they do not posses the required moral background to be in the committee.
It is not in doubt that one of the members is still standing trial before a competent court over alleged misappropriation of N18m belonging to his local government when he acted as council chairman eight years ago even as he was also indicted by a committee set up in the council to have also embezzled several millions. He is not expected to have even been a member of the state Assembly before supervising a fraud case.
Again, another member is at the receiving end of boos and jeers emanating from the various local government following the spate of abandonment and failure of contractors to handle rural road projects after collecting huge sum of money from the government. This office was inundated with several petitions arising from alleged bribery and demand for kick-backs before contractors will be mobilized. Reports from the various LGAs over skirmishes between contractors and the concerned lawmakers on sharp practices speak volume of the member’s inability to be part of the probe panel. It is worthy to note that one of the committee’s members is at the mercy of the governor who has threatened to arrest him over disappearance of road contractors. The member is yet to escape from the associated scandal when a contractor was accused of diverting road project money to roof his new building.
In view of the above, the Emeh led committee should go into soul-searching to determine if they have the moral rectitude to execute this lofty assignment considering that the matter is before EFCC, ICPC and other bodies courtesy of the petitioner and another star witness invited for the event.
Trumpeta believes that the ad-hoc committee is another decoy to sweep the allegations under the carpet since the members are alleged to be close allies of the speaker and hand picked by him. In the same vein Assembly watchers and monitors of events in the state are querying the rationale behind the setting up of the committee six months after Trumpeta exclusively revealed how the state-owned liaison office at Abuja, was converted to a private hotel of the speaker.
Imolites had expected the state lawmakers’ reaction to the conversion of the five-storey building when there was no denial from the speaker’s office and state government on the surreptitious manner the government property was brazenly acquired by public officers, an action that is purely in contrast to ICPC and EFCC laws.
On a final note, Trumpeta expects the Emeh led ad-hoc committee to, as a matter of fact, make public and show Imolites the code of conduct form he deposed to the code of conduct Bureau in 2011 when he emerged as speaker to measure his assets and monetary value three years after being in office Imo people are waiting.
Meanwhile, the Former Senior Special Assistant on media as well as the immediate Past Senior Special Assistant on Special Duties to the Speaker Imo state House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chief Benjamin Uwajumogu, citizen Ikenna Samuelson Iwuoha has reacted to a radio announcement inviting him to appear before a panel set up by the speaker to investigate allegations he (Samuelson) levied against Mr Speaker.
In a five page press release, citizen Iwuoha made available to the press, he went down memory lane (7th Nov, 2013) when he first made public the fraudulent activities going on in Mr Speaker’s office involving the Chief of staff and others. According to him, “rather than investigate my allegations, the Rt Hon Speaker issued me a query on 13th Dec, 2013.
Describing the present panel as a kangaroo panel, citizen Iwuoha wondered what the panel set up after four months and twenty days, he cried for one, would achieve, what more, chairman by Mr Speaker’s bosom friend, Hon Ikenna Emeh with a member of the panel Hon Acho Ihim who a six man panel, in 2006, indicted for embezzling N48, 260,274.29k when he was Executive Chairman of Okigwe LGA.
He was not comfortable with Mr Speaker still on seat while being investigated recalling that in 2002 Rt Hon Chuba Okadigbo as Senate President and Chief (Mrs) Patricia Etteh in 2007 as speaker house of representatives stepped aside when they were investigated for various offences.
Insisting that he has not been formally served an invitation letter to appear before any panel, citizen made it categorically clear that he would not honour the invitation and rather advised the speaker and his aides to rather subject themselves to the EFCC that is currently handling the issue at stake just as he sees Mr Speaker’s panel as diversionary.
Based on the contents of their letter, Trumpeta counsel, Emperor Iwuala has written to the adhoc committee requesting it to state if the medium is to honour the invitation either as an accused or as a witness. Trumpeta counsel further stated that the content of the adhoc committee letter is too vague as no subject matter, allegation or particulars of facts relating to it was disclosed. Therefore the counsel requested the committee to enable it the facts for which Trumpeta are invited.

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