By Christiana Ekpa
The Adhoc committee investigating the allegation of $10 inducement to Members of the House of Representatives has given the spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties, (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere, till Thursday this week to appear before it with evidence of inducement as he alleged or face parliamentary contempt.
Ugochinyere, had on May 4, 2020 issued a press statement in which he alleged that the House and its leadership had recieved financial inducement to the tune of $10 million to rush the passage of the bill.
But speaking through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation before the House Adhoc committee on Monday, the businessman cum philantrophist who was represented by the country Representative of his Foundation, Dr. Pauliu Basinga said there was no interraction whatsoever between himself or his Foundation and the House
Apearing before the investigative panel on Monday was a legal Representative to the CUPP spokesman, Barr. Tochukwu Uhazurike, a instead of Ugochinyere, who issued the statement.
Uhazurike told the Committee that his client didn’t come to the hearing because, he had filed a law suit challenging the legal ground of the committee to summon him for investigation, adding that “in line with the principles of natural justice, the speaker cannot be a judge in his own case”.
But the committee Chairman, Rep. Henry Nwawuba, (PDP, Imo), replied the lawyer that the committee invited Ugochinyere and not his lawyer, as he personally made the allegation and not through any lawyer.
As a result, the lawmakers said they cannot allow any lawyer or legal representative to speak to them on his behalf, insisting that the man who alleged must come forward to prove his allegation.
The Lawmakers challenged the veracity of the court document said to have been served the House in an attempt to halt the investigation, just as their urged the lawyer to kindly advise his client to come forward with the prove of his allegation as that will also help the House to expose any of its members who must have taken the said bribe thereby bringing it to disrepute.
According to Nwauba “we have a mandate to investigate the allegation by your client, and any attempt in whatever manner to derail it will be met with the full weight of the parliament. You cannot bring a letter to the House on the day of an investigation in an attempt to stop it.
“What we do here is constitutional, and just like the procedures read out to you, he must be here present, accompanied by you, if he so wishes. But we won’t listen to you on this matter, so you tell your principal to make himself available by Thursday, failure of which we are will turn in our recommendation to the House”.
On media houses who carried the said story, Nwawuba said “the Nigerian Media and the National Assembly remain partners in progress on the task of nation building, adding that care must be taken at all times to vet and verify potentially libellous materials before going to press.