FG GIVES 21- DAYS-ULTIMATUM TO EKWEREMADU, BANKOLE, KATSINA-ALU TO VACATE HOUSES
The Special Presidential Investigation Panel, for Recovery of Public Property has given the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; and former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Aloysius Katsina-Alu, 21 days to vacate their residency.
You can recall that the Chief Okoi Obono-Obla-led panel issued a similar quit notice, in September, to former Senate President, David Mark, who filed in turn filed a suit before the Federal High Court in Abuja to quash all the steps taken to evict him and recover the house from him by the panel.
The quit notice was also issued to a former Deputy Speaker and current Senator Usman Bayero Nafada following discovery that the five of them illegally acquired their then-official residences as their private properties.
According to DailyTrust, the immediate past President Goodluck Jonathan had in November 2010 reportedly permitted the Senate President, the Deputy Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, to ‘purchase’ their official quarters.
A source said, “The Senate President’s residence was sold to David Mark for N748 million; Speaker, House of Representatives’ residence was sold to Hon Dimeji Bankole for N670 million; while Deputy Senate President residence was sold to Senator Ike Ekweremadu for N458 million.
“Deputy Speaker House of Representatives residence was sold to Senator Nafada for N348.5 million; the residence of Juctice Katsina-Alu was sold to him at N45million and they were all sold without competitive bidding contrary to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act especially Section 15 thereof.”
The newspaper also reports that former President Jonathan had directed that the sale of the property should be gazetted in the Federal Government Gazette in his minute in a memo sent to him by the then minister of the FCT Senator Bala Muhammad dated 18 November 2010, but that was not done.
The source added, “A gazette is a notice to the whole world of the position of government on any issue and since there was a prevailing gazette that the house bought by the plaintiff (referring to David Mark) should not be sold under Government monetization policy, the gazette would have superseded the previous one.
“So the previous gazette prevails since the sale was not gazetted. That alone has vitiated the sale. Secondly the sale is against the public procurement Act which provides any contract for a good and service must be through competitive bidding. The sale was not through competitive bidding.”
It added that the houses were not ordinary houses but institutional houses to principal officers of the National Assembly, the Executive had no right in the first place to give an order for the houses to be sold.