There was disquiet in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly as the only All Progressive Congress (APC) member in the House, Hon. Israel Sunny-Goli (Brass constituency 1), has dragged the Speaker and three others before Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) over his unpaid allowances and money due him as a lawmaker since June 2015.
But the Speaker, Hon. Friday Konbowei Benson, has denied involvement in the non-payment of the allowances to the lawmaker.
The petition by Sunny-Goli signed on his behalf by his lawyer Ochu Chukuwuma titled ‘Alleged Financial Fraud, Marginalisation, Deprivation, Intimidation and Conspiracy by the Honourable Speaker, Clerk and the Accountant, Bayelsa State House of Assembly’ stated in details how there was an alleged “grand conspiracy to intimidate and deprive our client of his legitimate financial benefits from the Assembly”.
The petition which stated that Sunny-Goli has not been paid his furniture allowance from 2015 till date and how he was allegedly left out of a foreign trip to attend the Commonwealth Parliamentary Assembly (CPA) in Mauritius also alleged that “approved sum of money for member’s constituency tour during the annual assembly recess which money is usually paid to members’ salaries account have never been paid to our client”.
Sunny-Goli in the petition also disclosed how he was allegedly left out of the N8 million approved for office maintenance allowance in June 2018 and the N10million constituency tour allowance approved in August 2018 for no just cause.
According to him all efforts to seek remedy has been futile as he has been told that the directive not to pay him is from above.
“These acts and many more have been going on in the Assembly from inception and our client has drawn the attention of the Speaker to the anomalies but the same and all efforts by our client have been rebuffed without remedy, the Speaker citing “Order from above” as excuse. Let it be stressed that the Assembly is an arm of Government with its operations distinct and separate from the other arms of government hence, it will be ridiculous for the perpetrators of this financial fraud to cite “Order from above” as excuse” he stated in the petition
However, Benson has denied involvement in all the allegations levelled by Sunny-Goli in his petition. His media aide, Mr Aotendeike Boloigha who denied the involvement of his boss in any of the allegations said Benson at the appropriate time would respond once he concludes consultation on the issue.
Also the clerk, Mr Kozigena Owudogu Edward, in a telephone interview said he was not part of any plan to deny any lawmaker of his entitlement.
The Accountant, Mr Stephen Koroye, in a telephone interview said he has nothing to say on the allegations that the Speaker would respond.