The majority leader of Benue State House of Assembly, Honourable Benjamin Adayin, has said members of the state assembly have started refunding money to the Economic Financial and Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Speaking to newsmen at the weekend, in Makurdi, the state capital, Adayin said the money being refunded was the sum members collected in lieu of the Prado Jeep the contractor who handled the supply of the vehicles could not supply due to variation in the contract sum.
The majority leader dismissed the claim that N750 million was misapplied by the assembly in connection with the supply of vehicles meant for members, adding that the total sum of the contract was less than N400 million
He said the supply of Prado Jeep at the time the contract was awarded was N12.5 million but was jerked up to N14.5 million which prompted the contractor to ask for variation, but noted that, “as members who have the interest of our people at heart, we decided to opt for cars of our choice at a maximum of N10 million per member.”
“Incidentally, someone reported the case to EFCC and we were invited. When we presented the issue, the anti- graft commission faulted the procedure and advised us to refund the money each of us collected. The money is expected to be returned to state coffers while the state government would add to it and supply the Prado Jeep to members.
“There is no element of fraud here, so, we were surprised when the media bandied the house as corrupt. What we did was for the interest of the masses, we have started returning the money to EFCC and the moment this is concluded, the state will have to provide members with the Prado Jeep.”
It will be recalled that 20 members of the assembly were recently arrested and detained by EFCC on the manner their official vehicles were handled.
Adayin dismissed the insinuation that the assembly, as a result of the crisis, would likely change the speaker, adding that, “there is no element of truth in all these and the speaker has been carrying everyone along in the activities of the house. In fact, he has displayed rare leadership qualities that has endeared him to all the members, opposition inclusive.”