Fresh from their two months vacation, members of the Anambra state House of Assembly began sitting yesterday amid allegations of bribery and corruption to the tune of N63million rocking the Assembly.
The bribery allegation took its roots from the non-passage of the local government appropriation bill by the legislators when projects covered in the proposals had allegedly being executed.
One of the lawmakers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on a day the Assembly’s chief whip, Gabriel Onyenwife, presided in the absence of both the Speaker, and his deputy, the sum of N3million each was allegedly deducted from the treasury of the state’s 21 council areas to pacify the predominantly Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dominated 30-member legislature to approve the appropriation and projects already embarked upon.
Chairman, Assembly Committee on Local Government Matters, Hon. Timothy Egboka, described the allegation as a ruse and cheap blackmail, adding that he personally moved the motion for the 21 council areas to present their budget proposals and that the constitution allowed the councils to expend 50 percent of the budget sum before approval is given by the Assembly.
However, the lawmaker representing Aguata II Constituency in the Assembly, Ebere Ezechukwu, alleged yesterday that his life was being threatened following an earlier alarm he raised over what he had described as “sharp practices” pervading the council areas administration.
The Assembly had earlier at its sitting given all the heads of local government administration in the state September 23, 2009 as terminal date for the submission of their 2009 budget proposals.
Assembly Speaker, Hon. Anayo Nebe, however told THIS DAY on phone that nobody bribed him and that the bribe issue was not the reason he didn’t preside, having earlier announced to members that he would be traveling yesterday.
He dismissed, as nonsense, the allegation that money exchanged hands to forestall investigation of the expenditure profile of the 21 local government council areas#