Petition Against 15 Osun PDP Lawmakers At The Code Of Conduct Bureau, By 11 AC Lawmakers On Constituency Project Fraud

27th May, 2008. Code of Conduct Bureau, Federal Secretariat Complex, Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama, FCT, Abuja, Dear Sir, Petition Brought Pursuant To Item 12, Part 1, Fifth Schedule To The Constitution Of Federal Republic Of Nigeria, 1999 Which Prescribes as follows: ‘Any allegation that a public Officer has committed a breach of or has not…”
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August 20, 2008 5:17 pm

27th May, 2008.
Code of Conduct Bureau,
Federal Secretariat Complex,
Shehu Shagari Way,
Maitama,
FCT, Abuja,

Dear Sir,

Petition Brought Pursuant To Item 12, Part 1, Fifth Schedule To The Constitution Of Federal Republic Of Nigeria, 1999 Which Prescribes as follows:

‘Any allegation that a public Officer has committed a breach of or has not complied with the provisions of this Code shall be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau’

IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION AGAINST CONTRAVENTIONS OF THE CODE OF CONDUCT FOR PUBLIC OFFICERS

BETWEEN:

1. HON. TIMOTHEW OWOEYE – ILESA WEST
2. HON. AJIBOYE ADEMOLA – ILA
3. HON. OYEDELE KAMIL TOPE – IREPODUN/OROLU
4. HON. SALAMI NAJEEM F. – EJIGBO
5. HON. BINUYO IPOOLA A. – IFE NORTH
6. HON. AKINTUNDE ADEGBOYE – OSOGBO
7. HON. FAFOWORA A. ABIODUN – ILESA WEST
8. HON. AWOLOLA A. ABIODUN – EGBEDORE
9. HON. SALENSILE R. AYOBAMI – IWO
10. HON. SAMSON FAFIYEBI – OBOKUN
11. HON. AJIBOLA OLAIDE K. – OLORUNDA

AND

1. HON. ADEJARE BELLO (SPEAKER) – EDE NORTH
2. HON. ROPO OYEWOLE ( D. SPEAKER) – IFE CENTRAL
3. HON. TAJUDEEN ADEYEMI (MAJORITY LEADER,) – IFELODUN
4. HON. ADEMOLA OGUNDEJI – BORIPE BOLUWADURO
5. HON. IDIAT BABALOLA – EDE SOUTH
6. HON. FEMI FAROUNBI – AYEDAADE
7. HON. SIKIRU ARAOYE – OLAOLUWA
8. HON. DIRAN AYANBEKUN – IFE SOUTH
9. HON. JOSHUA OGUNLEYE – ATAKUNMOSA EAST AND WEST
10. HON. OGUNLEYE OLATUNJI – ORIADE
11. HON. SAMUEL ABIODUN IDOWU – IFEDAYO
12. HON. ‘KUNLE OMOLOLA – AYEDIRE
13. HON. GBADEBO OYEJIDE – IREWOLE 1/ISOKAN
14. HON. DEGBOLA OYEKUNLE – ODO OTIN
15. HON. OLAJIDE ADEYEYE – IFE EAST

INTRODUCTION

1.1 We are counsel retained by the Petitioners to bring the contraventions and/ or non-compliance with the provisions of Items 1, 6 and 9, Part 1, Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic, 1999 by the Respondents to the notice of this Code of Conduct Bureau with a view to assisting you to investigate and recommend the Respondents for prosecution before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

1.2 Your Petitioners are the honourable members of the Osun State House of Assembly who were elected under the platform of the Action Congress to represent the state constituencies appearing opposite their respective names. Your petitioners swore to uphold and observe the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

1.3 The Respondents are also the honourable members of the Osun State House of Assembly who were elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party to represent the state constituencies appearing opposite their respective names. The Respondents also swore to uphold and observe the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

1.4 This Petition is brought against the Respondents for contravening Items 1, 6 and 9, Part 1, Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

2.0 Contraventions Underlying This Petition

2.1 The Respondents received public funds into their private purses to execute constituencies projects and thereby put themselves in a position where their personal interest to show off to their constituencies that they are performing as elected representatives conflict with their duties and responsibilities as law makers and persons meant to investigate and inquire into the proprietary or otherwise of the activities of the executives.

2.2 The Respondents used their positions as members of the Osun State House of Assembly to receive N5 Million each as benefits for their respective constituencies even when the Constitution does not empower them to directly confer such benefits on the people.

2.3 The Respondents acted arbitrarily when they received N5 Million each into their private accounts to perform the duties of execution of projects for their constituencies when they knew that it is not their constitutional duties to execute projects and when due process was and could never have been followed by them in the execution of such projects.

2.4 Since the arbitrary acts referred to in Para 2.3 above will affect the commonwealth i.e. the public funds belonging to the entire people of Osun State, the arbitrary act has affected the rights/obligations of the Petitioners, and even the Respondents to deliver on their electoral promises.

2.5 By collecting the said sum of N5Million each, the Respondents have also violated the conscience of the electorate who placed them in their sacred duty of watching over the executives in their execution of the law and public projects.

3.0 Background Facts

3.1 As part of the numerous steps to fulfil their electoral promises to their individual constituencies, members of the Osun State House of Assembly recently passed resolutions directing the executives to undertake projects in each of the 26 Constituencies in the state (otherwise referred to as “Constituency projects’’).

3.2 It was further agreed that a dedicated consolidated accounts would be opened to allow for an equitable execution of the projects and ensure accountability, sound planning and execution of the projects and rid the projects of vices.

3.3 Rather strangely, on the 9th day of April, 2008, the Government of Osun State, under the leadership of His Excellency, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, directed the payments of the sums of N5Million Naira each into the private accounts of the 26 legislators in the Osun State House of Assembly to enable them use the money to execute projects which they individually desired for their respective constituencies.

3.4 Particularly, the Petitioners informed us that they received credit alerts from their banks showing that their respective bank accounts had been credited with the sum of N5Milllion each by the Osun State Government on the said 9th of April, 2008. It is however instructive to note that these lodgements were made without obtaining the consents of the Petitioners.

3.5 Convinced that their constitutional duties are broadly limited to law making and performance of the functions of overseeing the activities of other arms of government i.e. the executive and the judiciary, the Petitioners promptly returned the monies paid into their respective bank accounts to the Osun State Government through their letter dated 24-04-08, addressed to the 1st Respondent and jointly signed by your Petitioners. They also persuaded their PDP counterparts to follow suit by returning the N5Million Naira of the Osun State Government fund paid into their private accounts but they have refused to do so till date. Photocopies of the letter of 24-04-08, Cheques, deposit slips and transfer forms with which Osun State Government paid N5Million Naira into the Petitioners’ private accounts are herein attached as Schedules A to L.

5.0 How The Facts Stated Above Constitute Contraventions And/ Or Non- Compliance With The Provisions Of the Code Of Conduct For Public Officers Contravention of Item 1, Part 1, Fifth Schedule To the 1999 Constitution.

5.1 From the documents attached to this petition and the facts stated hereinbefore, it is put beyond question that the Respondents accepted N5Million Naira paid into their private accounts by the Government of Osun State for the purpose of executing constituencies’ projects.

5.2 It is also undisputable that it is the personal interest of each of the Respondents to show their constituencies that they are working or performing. In so far as the execution of projects is not the duty of the Respondents, accepting public monies to execute projects amount to pursuing their personal interest. In other words, if the Constitution which the Respondents swore to uphold did not authorise them to do an act, doing the acts will be pursuing their personal interests and agenda.

5.3 Rather than show how well they represent their respective constituencies by concentrating on law making and performing the functions of oversights, they overstepped their boundaries by accepting public funds into their private accounts to execute projects.

5.4 By Section 4(7) of the 1999 Constitution, the duties of the members of the House of Assembly of a state is to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the State. Also, while section 5(2)(a) vests the executive powers of a state in the Governor of the state, section 5(2)(b) of the same Constitution states that the executive powers of a state:

    “shall extend to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, all laws made by the House of Assembly of the State, and to all matters with respect to which the House of Assembly has for the time being powers to make laws.’’

5.5. As a corollary to the law making powers of the House of Assembly of a state, Section 128 vests the House with oversight functions in the following words:

(1) subject to the provisions of this Constitution, a House of Assembly shall have power by resolution published in its journal or in the official Gazette of the Government of the State to direct or cause to be directed an inquiry or investigation into-

    a.) any matter or thing with respect to which it has power to make laws; and
    b.) the conduct of affairs of any person, authority, Ministry or government department charged, or intended to be charged with the duty of or responsibility for-
    i. executing or administering laws enacted by the House of Assembly; and
    ii. disbursing or administering moneys appropriated or to be appropriated by such House.

(2) The powers conferred on a House of Assembly under the provisions of this section are exercisable only for the purpose of enabling the House to-

    a.) make laws with respect to any matter within its legislative competence and correct any defects in existing laws; and
    b.) expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it (Underlining ours)

5.6. Part of the law which the House of Assembly is empowered to make is the Appropriation Act. The law making powers of the House of Assembly is so vast that until the House passes the appropriation bill into law, the government’s capacity to spend will be seriously hampered.

5.7. We submit that apart from their duties and responsibilities to make laws, the House of Assembly is empowered to investigate or inquire into the execution of projects and contracts awards with a view to using the words of Section 128(2), expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it.

5.8. Therefore, the conclusion that it is not the duties and/or responsibilities of the Respondents to execute projects but that of the executives is very apposite.

5.9. Now Item 1, Part 1, 5th Schedule to the 1999 Constitution provides as follows:
“a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities’’

5.10. By accepting public funds into their private accounts to execute projects for their constituencies, we submit that each of the Respondents have put themselves in a position where their personal interests (not public interest since the act is unconstitutional) conflict with their duties and responsibilities.

5.11. Section 128 of the 1999 Constitution is clear on the oversight functions of the legislature, including the Respondents herein, and the ends the oversight function is designed to achieve. Since the ends are to expose corruption, inefficiency and waste, how can the Respondents achieve this when they are the dramatis personae whose activities are to be investigated? Put in another way, does it not amount to the Respondents putting themselves in a position where they are judges in their own cause if they execute projects and investigate whether same was carried out under an atmosphere devoid of waste, inefficiency and corruption?. We therefore submit that by accepting to execute projects, the Respondents have put themselves in a position where their personal interests conflict with their duties and responsibilities under Section 128 of the 1999 Constitution.
Contravention of Item 6(1), Part 1, Fifth Schedule
To the 1999 Constitution.

5.12. Item 6(1) provides that: “A public officer shall not ask for or accept property or benefits of any kind for himself or any other person on account of anything done or omitted to be done by him in the discharge of his duties”.

5.13. We rely on the statement of facts and the submission made hereinbefore.

5.14. From the background facts, the followings points are not in dispute:

5.14.1.1 that the Respondents are legislators;

5.14.1.2 that the Respondents were paid N5Million each to execute constituencies’ projects because they are legislators;

5.14.1.3 that the N5Million amounts to benefits meant to be conferred on the people of the individual constituencies of the Respondents;

5.14.1.4 that the act of the Respondents in accepting to execute projects clearly violates the provisions of Section 4 and 5 of the 1999 Constitution, amongst others;

5.14.1.5 that the Respondents received the N5Million Naira each personally.

5.15 We therefore submit that the acts of the Respondents contravene the provisions of Item 6(1), Part 1, Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.
Contravention of Item 9, Part 1, Fifth Schedule
To the 1999 Constitution

5.16 Item 9 provides that : a public officer shall not do or direct to be done, in abuse of his office, any arbitrary acts prejudicial to the rights of any other person knowing that such act is unlawful or contrary to any government policy.

5.17 We rely on our submissions above and the background facts to urge you to decide that the acts of the Respondents amount to a contravention of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers.

5.18 We submit that the Item 9 is designed to punish acts which amount to arbitrariness on the part of Public Officers. An act will be arbitrary if done in flagrant disregard of due process and the Constitution.

5.19 As demonstrated above, the Respondents are not the officers charged with the responsibilities of executing projects but the executives. The people of Nigeria in general and Osun State, in this case, deserve a government which rule according to the law and not according to whims and caprices. The right of the people to a decent government has therefore been breached. Also, the Petitioners, as well as the Respondents, equally swore to defend the Constitution and deliver the goods to their constituencies. This arbitrariness therefore amounts to a violation of the conscience of the electorate who placed them in their sacred duty of watching over the executives in their execution of the law and public projects.

5.20 Further, we urge you to hold that the acts of the Respondents make nonsense of Section 128 of the 1999 Constitution which empowers the legislators to investigate and inquire into the execution of projects for which they have appropriated money.

5.21 As clearly stated in Section 128(2)(b), the essence of the legislative investigation and inquiry is to expose corruption, inefficiency and waste. We contend that anything that hampers the Respondents duties under Section 128 will be giving an unbridled license to waste, corruption and inefficiency.

6.0 Reliefs Sought By The Petitioners

6.1 In view of the foregoing, we respectfully pray this Bureau as follows:

6.1.1.1 that the allegations of non-compliance and/or contraventions of Items 1, 6 and 9, Part 1, Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution brought against the Respondents be investigated by the Code of Conduct Bureau;

6.1.1.2 that the Respondents be recommended for prosecution by the Code of Conduct Tribunal pursuant to Item 15(1), Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution.

6.2 While pledging our co-operation in the investigation and prosecution of the Respondents herein, we urge that you do your part in making our system work, given that the problems of Nigeria is not in the scarcity of laws to sanitise our systems but rather it is in the implementation of these laws.

6.3 This petition presents to you another valuable opportunity in history.

Thank you.
Yours faithfully,

TOPE ADEBAYO ESQ.

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