HEDA – AFRICMIL Petitions ICPC To Probe Former Lawmaker

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Yemisi Izuora 

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, (ICPC) has been asked to probe the former House of Representative member who represented Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency, Tony Nwulu

In a petition to the anti-graft group the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA) and African Centre for Media and Information Literacy said the budget for constituency projects in the lawmaker’s area was fraught with strong suspicion of fraud.

HEDA and AFRICMIL said that the constituents of Oshodi-Isolo Federal Constituency of Lagos State were demanding explanations and raising questions as to budgetary allocations and projects of Tony Nwulu given the fact that people in his constituency have no reference points to show how he expended the public funds.

The petition addressed to the ICPC Chairman was signed by HEDA’s Chairman Olanrewaju Suraju and AFRICMIL Director, Chido onumah.

The groups said many voters in Nwulu’s constituency are deeply worried that the ex-lawmaker failed to meet the expectations of those who voted for him.

They also accused Nwulu of threatening the life of journalists who dare expose his alleged misconducts

It said Nwulu faces public accusation of threatening the life of one Oke Epia, an online publisher through telephone calls from  Nwulu and other strange persons believed to have acted on his behalf.

The petitioners said “We are reliably informed that Mr. Nwulu went on a binge of verbal attacks issuing threats with a promise to hunt down the publishers at all costs.”

HEDA wrote “Given the wave of attacks against journalists in recent times, we have decided to bring this matter to the public domain and let the world know that should anything untoward happen to Oke or any of our colleagues or the media establishment itself, Mr. Nwulu should be held responsible.”

Olanrewaju said the ex-lawmaker was reported to have  accused the Orderpaper publisher of publishing reports accusing him of spending millions of Naira meant for a constituency project and accusing the publisher of failing to prove his allegations.

HEDA based its petition on the provisions of the law and Section 6(a) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 states that “it shall be the duty of the Commission- (a) Where reasonable grounds exist for suspecting that any person has conspire to commit or has attempted to commit or has committed an offence under this Act or any other law prohibiting Corruption, to receive and investigate any report of the conspiracy to commit, attempt to commit or the Commission of such offence and, in appropriate cases, to prosecute the offenders”

The anti corruption group said the ICPC laws are absolutely clear on the powers conferred on it to investigate and if found culpable, proceed to onward prosecution.

It stated “Our organization believes in the presumption of innocence and the upholding of due process; hence the need for this petition in order to invoke the powers vested in the Commission’

The group said, in accordance with our support for the ICPC recently launched Constituency Projects Tracking Group Initiative, Nwulu should be probed. Adding that the allegations need effective, immediate and urgent investigation with a view to visiting the perpetrator with the groins of the law.

“As the Latin Maxim states, he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. The reporter only demanded answers as a citizen of the country which we believe he ought to be provided with same” HEDA stated

HEDA said the Act also spells out in Sections 27(2) and (3) that every report, whether in writing or reduced into writing, shall be entered in the book kept at the office of the commission and there shall be appended to such entry the date and hour at which such report was made and Section 27(3) states that where an officer of the commission has reasons to suspect the commission of an offence under this Act, following a report made under sub-section (1) or information otherwise received by him, he shall cause investigation to be made for such purpose and may exercise all the powers of investigation provided for under this Act or any other law.

We strongly believe that the allegations are worthy of immediate and urgent scrutiny as Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 states that any public officer who uses his office or position to gratify or confer any corrupt or unfair advantage upon himself or any relation or associate of the public officer or any other public officer shall be guilty of an offence and shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for five (5) years without option of fine.

HEDA said Furthermore in the same Act, Section (20) provides for the punishment of the offence in Section 19 and the section states that without prejudice to any sentence of imprisonment imposed under this Act, a public officer or other person found guilty of soliciting, offering or receiving gratification shall forfeit the gratification and pay a fine of not less than five times the sum of the value of the gratification which is the subject- matter of the offence where such gratification is capable of being valued or is of a pecuniary nature, or ten thousand naira, whichever is higher.

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