The office of the Speaker of the Nigeria House of Representatives has reacted angrily to Press reports that the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole, His Father, and Two Brothers are involved in the REA Electrification Scandal. Saharareporters had reported about the "extensive involvement of Speaker Dimeji Bankole of the House of Representatives in the rural electrification scam that has embroiled members of
the National Assembly as well as senior officials of the Rural Electrification Agency".
In a Press Statement, the Speaker insisted that "while the family members of Rt. Hon. Bankole have every right within the law to own companies and carry out contracts in Nigeria. But in this instance, none of the companies they own has solicited, applied or have been linked to contracts under investigation by EFCC".
Below are the Press Statement and The story carried by Saharareporters.
The attention of the office of the Speaker, House of Representatives have been drawn to an Internet sponsored publication alleging that members of Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole family benefitted in the N5.2 billion contract scam at the Rural Electrification Agency, REA.
While the issue is now before a court of competent jurisdiction and it would be subjudice to comment on the litigation, it is necessary to alert the public and media organizations that this is yet another blackmail to tarnish the reputation of the Speaker in a typical â€œPull Him Down syndromeâ€.
The wicked publication not only failed to establish any linkage between members of the family of Rt. Hon. Bankole and all the companies published and charged to be involved in the rural electrification contracts. Indeed the publication specifically stated that it cannot identify which of the companies is linked to the family of Bankole, which in itself negates the fundamental journalism rule that â€œwhen in doubt, leave outâ€.
For the avoidance of doubt, family members of Rt. Hon. Bankole have every right within the law to own companies and carry out contracts in Nigeria. But in this instance, none of the companies they own has solicited, applied or have been linked to contracts under investigation by EFCC.
In Nigeria, it is a simple thing to search for the identity of owners of various companies through the Corporate Affairs Commission, C.A.C, but the blackmailers after Rt. Hon. Bankole would rather rush to questionable foreign media outlets as a prelude to moving to local media scene.
We recalled that EFCC said its investigation into the case was spurred by movement of cash into companiesâ€™ accounts and we challenge anyone to identify any companies own by the Bankoles where REA made payment for contracts.
We view this as yet another attempt aimed at discrediting the Speaker with intent which could at best be political. The pull him down agenda, it would be recalled, started barely two days after the Speaker was elected when some disgruntled elements came down hard on his person, alleging that he did not serve the nation under the mandatory NYSC scheme. When this was conclusive shown to be a lie, these elements followedwith an attack on the integrity of the Bankole led House through the malicious allegation of fraud using forged documents on the purchase of Peugeot 407 cars for the Houseâ€™s Committee. Again, when the orchestration failed, these enemies have now shifted their attack on the family of Bankole.
Despite these wicked machinations, the Speaker would not be distracted from pursuing an activist legislative agenda that had led to unprecedented achievements for good governance in the country. As it is, family members of Bankole reserve the right to seek legal redress against any person or organization defaming their character or the reputation of their companies through malicious publication.
Chief Press Secretary to Speaker,
Nigeria House Of Representatives
Speaker Dimeji Bankole, His Father, and Two Brothers Involved in Electrification Scandal
Sahara Reporters, New York
Speaker Dimeji Bankole
Investigations by Saharareporters have uncovered details about the extensive involvement of Speaker Dimeji Bankole of the House of Representatives in the rural electrification scam that has embroiled members of the National Assembly as well as senior officials of the Rural Electrification Agency.
The House Committee Chairman on Power, Godwin Ndudi Elumelu, his deputy, Jibo Mohammed, Senator Nicholas Yahaya Ugbane, and seven senior management officials of the Rural Electrification Agency are presently facing trial before Justice Abimbola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory High Court. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has slammed the suspects with a 156-count charge.
Also, four other members of the House of Representatives are being sought for questioning and possible arraignment, but our source would not name them.
Our latest revelation, based on information from a variety of reliable sources, is that the Yar'adua regime and United Bank for Africa (UBA) are working in tandem in a major effort to cover up the involvement of Speaker Bankole, his father and two siblings.
A source who is part of the investigation told our correspondent that UBA had refused to release further account information to the EFCC that could implicate Mr. Dimeji Bankole. The investigator disclosed that the speaker's companies, with his father and two brothers serving as proxies, made close to N900 million from the corruption scandal.
Three of our sources described Elumelu as the arrowhead of the contract bonanza. EFCC sources told Saharareporters that Elumelu alone could have stolen up to N3 billion from the rural electrification scam. The monies were reportedly routed through various dubious accounts at the United Bank of Africa (UBA) owned by Tony Elumelu, the legislator's brother.
In details gleaned from EFCC sources, members of the House Committee on Power involved in the N6.2 billion fraud and their cohorts at the Rural Electrification Agency met at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja soon after the passage of the supplementary budget late last year. Their objective was to decide how many companies each participant in the scam was to nominate to benefit from the contracts. Our sources revealed that no prequalification of companies was done in the entire process leading to the contract award. Our investigation also determined that there was no bidding or tendering procedure was adopted. The shady process adopted by the principals in the scandal violated due process mechanisms put in place by the federal government for award of contracts.
The participating companies allegedly got paid 85% of the purported contract sums for work that was never executed. Some of the companies that benefited from the illicit bonanza are Geophil Services Limited, Maskh Nigeria Limited, Omotosho and Sons Nigeria Limited, Stanley Stephen and Co Limited, Willands Engineering Limited, Con Engineering Nigeria Limited, Mak & Mak Limited, Best Brothers International Limited, Damsal Nigeria Limited, Lakfad Nigeria Limited, Sibga Services Limited, Solabig Nigeria Limited, Bernadinois Nigeria Limited, Nelly Vic Nigeria Limited, El-Pinders Nigeria Limited, Jidec Nigeria Limited, Tometrix International Limited, Asia Africa Trading Co. Limited. Others are C. C OHMS Nigeria Limited, Makfens Nigeria Limited, Savannah Engineering Limited, Bajot Engineering Co Limited, Emacson Engineering Co Limited, Liberty (Overseas) Brothers Limited, Nabeela Nigeria Limited, Sunnex Nigeria Limited, Adolphous Holdings Limited, Lastak Nigeria Limited, Chief and Chief Nigeria Limited, and Helping Hands International Limited.
Our sources did not specify which of the companies belonged to Speaker Bankole, but they said the speaker's father and his brothers brought 11 companies on board. Those companies fully benefited from the fraud, said one of the investigators. He added: If the powers-that- be don't order us to back off from investigating the speaker's involvement, we'll soon get to the bottom of it.
Meanwhile, EFCC sources told our correspondent that the agency has declared two women wanted in connection with their involvement in what may become the biggest corruption scandal of the year. The women, described as secretaries to Mr. Ndudi Elumelu, are Angela Oselukwu and Uduak Akpan Israel. Ms. Oselukwu is from Elumelu's hometown, Oselukwu in Anioma Local Government Area in Delta State. Both women are said to be on the run.
The rural electrification projects funds were shared amongst 150 companies. The payments made to each company were systematically broken down into N50 million each to avoid the contracts passing through the approval of the Federal Executive Council.
113 of the companies got contracts for "grid extension" projects while the rest were awarded contracts to provide solar panels in rural areas of Nigeria.