Politics

Probe of N9trn pension scam suffers setback as Edo lawmaker resigns

[4:54 PM, 4/18/2019] Akintola BusinessDay: Ongoing investigative public hearing initiated by the Nigeria’s House of Representatives suffered major setback on Thursday, as Johnson Agbonayinma, chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee investigating the utilisation of the N9 trillion accrued into the pension fund stepped aside.

Agbonayinma who disclosed this at the resumed investigative hearing held in Abuja, read his farewell speech titled: ‘The hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob (Cabal)’.

Following his self-disqualification over what he described as “unnecessary pressures and an attempt to bribe him to scuttle the investigative hearing,” his deputy, Iboro Ekanem (PDP-Akwa Ibom) took over as he presided over the investigation hearing which was attended by representatives of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs).

Agbonnayinma also indicted a fellow lawmaker who allegedly collaborated with the regulatory body to offer him a bribe to ‘kill’ the probe.

“Ab-initio these responsibilities bestowed on the Committee by the House met stiffer oppositions and challenges immediately after its inaugural meeting with various motions for the rescission of the motion setting up the Ad-hoc Committee to subvert the directives or the honourable House, and derail the activities of the Ad-hoc Committee.

“These motions were at variance with the Standing Orders of the House, particularly Order 8 Rule ‘Notice of Motions’.

“But for the parliamentary gallantry of Mr Speaker, there were various uncomplimentary and savaged tactics to give the Ad-hoc Committee a still birth.

“Please note that Hon Oluwole Oke, a member of this Parliament and a ranking member threw decorum to the wind when he took it upon himself and through his deliberate actions to derail the activities of the Ad-hoc Committee, his conduct is morally and parliamentary unacceptable.

“From inception of the investigations, his actions were infamous and uncomplimentary befittingly of a lawmaker which is to walk in the path of justice.

“From inception of the investigations his actions were infamous and uncomplimentary befitting a lawmaker which is to walk in the
path of Justice. He made overtures in subverting the mandate of the Ad-hoc
Committee which was disregarded.

“From our findings the body language of the Honourable Member is that of a
commissioned agent and with a directive to stifle the investigations and subvert the report of the Ad-hoc Committee. It is very sad that a ranking parliamentarian is involve in these unwholesome acts.

“From all findings, the body language and actions of Hon. Oluwole Oke is that he is working with Pencom to stifle the investigations and subvert the report of the Ad-hoc Committee. It is very sad that a ranking parliamentarian is involve in these unwholesome acts.

“Further aware that the Committee wrote series of letters to PenCOM from December, 2018 and has so far written ten (10) letters to PenCOM requesting information’s and submission of Memorandum to the committee.

“Also, note that letters were also communicated to Pension Funds Administrators (PFA’s), Pension Fund Custodians (PFC’s), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Office of the Secretary of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), NLC, TUC and various Stakeholders and Government Parastatals. It may surprise you to note that our first Public Hearing was held on the 7th of February, 2019.

“Please, be aware that I have been trendy on the social media, print and electronic media on the sack of Deborah Agbonayinma by the management of PenCOM over presentation of fake credentials. As a lawmaker of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a parent, I will never condone illegality and at all times stand on the path of Justice.

“I have been smeared by the conduct of a child who is an adult, married and over 30 years of age, who is responsible for her actions and inactions. I will always walk on the path of justice and the oaths I took as prescribed by the seventh schedule to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to function honestly in the discharge of my duties.

“The management of PenCOM is on a path of war because of the ongoing investigations by the Ad-hoc Committee, using public funds to blackmail and threaten the committee through some members by saying I am hard on the commission because of the sack of my daughter. It is germane to note that the commission sacked her on the 27th February, 2019 and the Ad-hoc committee started its investigations on December 12th, 2018. It is scandalous to link PenCOM probe to my daughter’s sack.

“The truth about the PenCOM funds must come out. They are trying to deviate from the real issues. The Committee is about to round up the investigation and present its report before the House. We are resolute to do a thorough investigation without fear or favour.
There have been a systematic and orchestrated attempt to frustrate the patriotic and determined effort of this Ad-hoc Committee. Mr. Speaker this fight is not against EJ or my daughter, this is a fight
against the cohesive sanctity of this House,” Agbonayinma told the audience.

However, the public hearing was adjourned sine die, sequel to the absence of the regulatory agency, National Pension Commission (PenCom).

In a swift reaction to the allegation, Oluwole Oke, chairman, House committee on Public Procurement denied the the allegation via a text message.

“How and in what way. Let him substantiate his allegations with facts.
Such allegation is false and untrue.

“He (Agbonayinma) should not drag me into his woes and that of his daughter over their allegations of certificate forgery. The Committee has Constitutional powers to do their job and bring their report to the floor. I have no business with Pencom. I don’t owe any PFA nor a Director in any.

“If there is any lawmaker that PenCom hates it’s me because of my Legislative activities sponsoring bills that exited the Armed Forces and Intelligence Communities,” the Osun lawmaker said in the SMS.

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