The House of Representatives has directed its committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate the allegations that $50,000 bribe was given to members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to quash an inquiry into the $9.3 million cash seized by the South African Government.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Emeka Ihedioha, gave the order on Wednesday after a rowdy session which divided lawmakers into two main political groups – the All Progressive Congress and the PDP.
The controversy started when chairman of the committee on Rules and Business, Albert Sam-Tsokwa, (PDP Taraba), raised a point of order bordering on a breach of his privileges.
Citing Order 8, Rule 20 of the House Rules, the Taraba lawmaker complained that he was embarrassed by stories in some national dailies on the walk-out by the APC members at the previous day’s sitting and the insinuation that PDP members in the House were given $50,000 each to stall debate on the motion to investigate the $9.3 million bungled arms deal in South Africa.
“As the House chairman of the Rules and Business committee, this issue is not to my knowledge. No money was received by any member of my party or myself,” Sam-Tsokwa said.
As the Deputy Speaker assigned the matter to the committee on Ethics and Privileges for investigation, a lawmaker from Kano State, Ali Madaki, who is a member of the APC, told the House that he had leaked the bribery allegation to the press the previous day, having been reliably informed about what transpired at the House after the opposition lawmakers staged a walkout protest.
Madaki, however, argued that the bribe amount was $20,000.00 and not the $50,000 as reported in the papers.
His confession throw the house into another rowdy session.
Reacting to Madaki’s comments, the PDP Deputy Leader in the House, Leo Ogor, described the allegation as an embarrassment, unparliamentary and an act of blackmail.
“The whole episode is embarrassing and disgusting. How can somebody fabricate such lies? We voted on the matter and the nays carried the day and you still staged a walk-out to protest that you were defeated,” Ogor said.
He added, “For the fact that APC was defeated was not enough reason for them to walk out and to add insult to it they brought the allegation that the same PDP members collected $50,000. “I found that publication embarrassing and as far as I am concerned it is pure blackmail. It is totally unacceptable and unparliamentary.”