WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION: APC MEMBERS ARE NOT SAINTS – DOGARA
The speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s war against corruption is not selective.
He said it was only natural that probe by any new government focused on those that had opportunity to serve in government.
His words: “The PDP had been in power for a number of years, more than a decade and if you were to weigh members of opposition that are in government now and had opportunity to serve, those that would have tendencies to engage in pilfering of resources, majority will come from PDP, except we are not being realistic.
“Though we can’t claim that all the members of APC are saints; you pointed out that APC spent money in the course of the campaign, but where did this money come from? We haven’t really had any facts about government officials forwarding money to the cause of the campaign. Majority of the money that was stolen was channelled towards the PDP campaign. You know that this arms purchase monies, for instance, virtually everything was given for the prosecution of PDP campaign.
“I do not think a dime went to any member of the APC, we were all in government then. I can’t remember a discussion like that then but I knew when some of the funds were being given to some of our friends as well but I believe that no one that is of APC stock was given that money.
“I don’t think the fight has really been one sided. If you recall, one of the closest aides to the President, I don’t want to name him, when he was picked up, everyone was shocked that that man could be picked up. He had been one of the most dutiful, one of the people that is very, very close to the President, yet he wasn’t spared when evidence was adduced that he benefited from it and he had to refund the money.”
On the Senate forgery case, Dogara called for caution, warning that the National Assembly may find it difficult to function properly in the face of continuous external interference.
“Where you do not have an independent National Assembly, you definitely will have some kind of totalitarian tendencies in the government.
“In the past, there had been stability in regards to the work of the judiciary and the executive because usually, during military regimes or intervention, the institution that was suspended was the National Assembly and for obvious reasons.
“But since the matter is in court, it doesn’t mean that when allegations are made, that they are true. A lot of people have been charged to courts before and at the end of the day, insufficient evidence is given. And in a case of forgery, it is a criminal offence and the standard of proof, the burden of proof is beyond reasonable doubt.
“The Senate has spoken, it is an issue that all of us, including the Senate and the House of Representatives, will have to really sit down and analyze.
“As it is, I haven’t really seen the papers, I haven’t seen the charges, I don’t know whether they are grounded or not but I have asked, as a lawyer too, that I needed to see the nature of the evidence against the presiding officers that are being charged to court in a case of forgery.
“We will allow the judiciary to do its work and I sincerely believe that if they are guilty as they are alleged, that the proof of evidence will disclose any material allegation against them, then we will continue to do the work we do in parliament without fear of any intimidation.”