N38B LOAN SCAM: Court Frees Bankole, Nafada
Published on January 31, 2012 by pmnews
An Abuja High Court presided over by Justice Suleiman Belgore on Tuesday absolved the embattled former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his erstwhile Deputy, Bayero Nafada, of any crime by obtaining N38 billion loan from UBA for the payment of an enhanced package and running cost for members of the House of Representatives.
Bankole’s lawyers led by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, a senior advocate of Nigeria, in an application brought before the court on behalf of the former Speaker and his Deputy for the quashing of the charges slammed against them by the Economic and Financoial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had argued that an account number issued by a bank cannot be said to be a property to be owned or entrusted as alleged in the charge for which Bankole and Nafada are being tried.
He stated that an account number cannot be subject to ownership.
In quashing the charge, Justice Belgore noted that the record increment in members’ allowance by obtaining the N38 billion loan was immoral, wrong and condemnable, especially given the abject poverty to which a great majority of Nigerians have been forced to exist under, but went on to hold that Bankole and Nafada had committed no crime.
The court further held that the the House of Representatives has power to use its funds in ways it deemed fit whether as running costs or enhancement of welfare package and that such discretion exercised by the House over its funds does not amount to a crime.
Justice Belgore also maintained that constitutionally, the Speaker had nothing to do with the accounts of the House of Representatives and rapped the Clerk of the House whose function it is to manage the Accounts of the House for allowing the Speaker to usurp the powers of his office.
He further noted that it is the Clerk, not Bankole and Nafada, who should be charged with securing and disbursing the loans.
—Nnamdi Felix / Abuja
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