- Category: Politics
- Published on Saturday, 04 June 2011 22:31
- Written by Admin
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IT was a visit that lasted all of two minutes. But that was the breather that House of Representatives Speaker Dimeji Bankole needed, to get men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) off his back, at least temporarily, yesterday.
The visit to the Apo Quarters residence of Bankole by the Inspector General of Police, Hafiz Ringim, averted plans by EFCC operatives to arrest the Speaker who has spurned several invitations by the anti-graft commission for him to defend certain corruption allegations levelled against him.
Yesterday evening, in a statement made available to reporters by his media aides,the Speaker promised to appear before the EFCC by 2pm on Monday.
The day had started on a dramatic note for the Speaker. Sources told the Nigerian Compass on Saturday that the EFCC had acted on a tip-off that the Speaker had planned to flee the country yesterday via a 7am flight. The anti-graft commission, which had put its men on the surveillance of the Speaker for quite a while, stormed his house in the wee hours of the day, ostensibly to prevent him from the alleged planned escape.
“The security officers entered the premises, quite well, but could not proceed into the inner house,” an EFCC source told the Nigerian compass on Saturday.
The source added that Bankole’s security aides shut themselves and their principal in, in the main entrance and the EFCC officials would have had to break down the door to gain entry.
While the EFCC officials pondered on their next line of action, the IGP arrived in a black BMW car with registration Number NPF 01. He did not stay for more than two minutes before leaving the residence. The time was 11.00 a.m.
Bankole is being probed by the EFCC over alleged N10 billion fraud as well as alleged underhand dealings in the purchase of vehicles for members of the Assembly.
On Wednesday this week, the commission vowed not to reveal its next line of action against the Speaker.
According to a source in the EFCC, the IGP yesterday made several telephone calls to the EFCC chairman Farida Waziri and offered to intervene.
It was further learnt that the Speaker told the IGP that his inability to honour the EFCC’s invitation was due to pressing state functions and promised to honour the invitation next week after handing over to his successor.
Later in the evening, he declared in the statement that he would be going to the EFCC on Monday, at 2pm “not as the speaker of the House but as Dimeji Bankole” to explain what he knows about the allegations, especially on the N10 billion loans from a bank.
His media aides stated: “Contrary to widespread speculations that he has been arrested or resisted EFCC arrest, the Speaker has informed s of EFCC of his intention to honour their invitation on Monday.”
The statement added: “Following Bankole’s letters to EFCC chairman of some procedural defects in his invitation by EFCC over investigative activities, the anti-corruption agency has sent its men to Bankole to renew the invitation and Bankole has given a Monday date for his appearance.
“The outgoing speaker had scheduled (a) series of meetings in Abuja and Lagos for the weekend with various groups including personal aides as part of his valedictory activities contrary to insinuations that he intended to travel out today to (the) United Kingdom.” (CompassNews)