Even as the dust raised by the alleged $3 million bribery scandal in the House of Representatives is yet to settle, another storm is already raging in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has begun investigation into an alleged strange massive cash withdrawals running into N1.5 billion from the House accounts.
Reporters exclusively gathered that the fresh scandal has already led to the invitation and interrogation of about four officials of the National Assembly. It was, however, gathered that the withdrawals were made before the present Speaker of the House, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, assumed office.
Competent sources in EFCC told reporters that the Bank Fraud unit of the EFCC, which is located in Garki area of Abuja, is investigating the fraud case, which is being treated as “criminal conspiracy, stealing and money laundering.”
The sources confirmed that about four officials so far interrogated over the matter were allegedly used severally to pull out the cash from the House bank accounts “because the cheques were written in their names to cash the huge funds from some banks in Abuja.”
According to a member of the investigating team, who pleaded for anonymity, “the funds were actually withdrawn over a period of time, especially in the last quarter of 2010 and they were withdrawn by some officials in the speaker’s office in millions. For instance, you see junior officers withdrawing millions of naira. In a particular case, a junior officer was asked to withdraw N10 million from Oceanic Bank in August and same person was also asked to withdraw another N20 million from a GT bank account in November same year.”
“In fact, we are also looking into other allegations that one of the officials who is still young in public service has about three estates in Abuja alone and recently went to take a bride in Egypt. We will try to establish his sources of funds and see whether there is a link between the huge cash withdrawals in his name and his expenditures.”
A member of the House who pleaded anonymity however said, “I believe there is more to this sudden focus on the House by agents of the executive. It is beyond a coincidence that one scandal keeps breaking after another as if the House is the only organ of government where these things happen. We believe they are deliberate and targeted.”