by Isi Esene
A civil society group, Transparency and Good Governance Coalition, has accused the speaker, Mr. Kombowei Benson, and twenty-three other members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly of collecting money from the state government under false pretences.
The House members are said to have received N78m from the state government presumably to attend the 43rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in South Africa billed to take place from June 24 to July 8.
According to the Punch Newspapers, the governor, Seriake Dickson, was said to have released the money a day before the said conference with the warning that the funds must be used for the stated purpose.
In the petition sent by the civil society group to the inspector general of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, the group claimed the speaker received the money and disbursed it among the members who allegedly converted it to personal use.
The petition read in part:
“Unknown to Bayelsans, the speaker and other members of the Bayelsa House of Assembly allegedly never attended the conference but simply allegedly converted the fund given to them to their personal use.
“While the conference which started on the 29th of June was underway, the speaker and members of the Assembly were reportedly and allegedly engaged in a frolic of their own in Nigeria until the 7th of July 2012.”
Adding to the accusation leveled against the speaker and the members, the Transparency and Good Governance Coalition said the members left the country for South Africa a day to the end of the conference, got there in the morning of the 8th and all-together missed the event.
We watch to see how this unfolds.