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By: Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD , Burtonsville, MD, USA

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Monday, August 21, 2000


An English politician once said that "a week is like a lifetime in politics." Well, what about two weeks? Or three weeks?

Since I published my last "Monday Quarterbacking:, An Open Letter to Senator Gbenga Aluko on Monday, August 7, 2000 Senator Okadigbo has been impeached (on August 8) and Deputy Senate President Haruna Abubakar and Senate Leader Samaila Mamman have resigned, the last two in a complex plot fit for a Shakespearan book. Okadigbo and Abubakar have both since been replaced by Senators Pius Anyim and Ibrahim Mantu respectively.

The other members of the Senate leadership have remained virtually intact - Senator Gbenga Aluko as Deputy Chief Whip (resignation refused), Roland Owie as Majority Party Chief Whip and Florence Ita-Giwa as APP Deputy Chief Whip.

The Senate Leadership position is yet to be re-filled, but it appears that Samaila Mamman will eventually be replaced Danladi Bamaiyi - speculation, but we shall see.

My emphasis here in this essay is to turn a spotlight on the Kuta Report ITSELF, and in the process, highlight some of the malicious injustice done to the reputation of my brother, Senator Gbenga Aluko of Ekiti South, whose situation has been the object of the most mean-spirited, snide and undeserved comments and vicious attacks not only on him but some members of my family and Ekiti-land.

None of this takes away from my pieces of advice to him in the last Monday Quarterbacking. In fact, my first piece of advice was thus:

I wish you to continue to METHODICALLY and without histrionics respond one-by-one to the allegations against you. The Nigerian people, just coming out of several years of military dictatorship, and still laboring under severe economic hardships that do not seem to be abating, have a right to be indignant at what they have been reading. You have already faxed to me some of your press releases on this issue, and letters of attestation from the Director of Financial Services, and I am quite satisfied about your explanations that you had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with N35 million diversion of funds or with the purchase of a 100KVA N12 million generator.

I am also convinced that neither the Xerox machines or the laptop computers were bought at inflated prices; you must work to similarly convince others. UNQUOTE

Senator Gbenga Aluko has since been doing exactly that admirably, and state conviction remains rock-solid. This write-up is in that spirit from my own vantage point.

Of course, I urge you all to read the Kuta report, certainly Volume 2, but if possible Volume 1. The most comprehensive compilation to date will be found in Newswatch


It is instructive to provide a quick profile of the educational, political, legislative and elective profile of the members of this august body as listed in Chris N.D. Anyanwu's "The Law Makers Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 - 2003" (3rd Edition, 1999, published by Startcraft International.)

The Chairman, Idris Ibrahim Kuta, 57, Senator from Niger East constituency, is listed as having an Ordinary National Diploma from S.W. Essex Technical College, London, a Diploma in Quantity Surveying from Glasgow College of Building, a Doctor of Science in Quantity Surveying from the Albert Einstein University, Madrid, Spain, and is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management.

He was a House of Representative member from 1979 - 83 when he was Deputy Speaker. He has been elected Senator three times now: in 1983 (just before the army seized power), in 1992 (during the Babangida transition), and in 1999.

His previous appointments include Commissioner for Information, North-West Government in Sokoto, 1975-76; Commissioner for Trade & Industry, Niger State, 1976-77 and Minister, Federal Ministry of Mines & Power in 1983.

Oserheimen Osunbor, 48, Senator from Edo Central, is listed as having a doctoral degree in law from the University of Warwick, England. Was formerly a professor of law at Lagos State University and is a lawyer.

This is his first elective position, and had previous legislative experience as a member of the 1994/95 constitutional conference.

Femi Okunrounmu, 51, has a doctor of science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the prestigious Massachachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, USA, and was commissioner in various ministries in Ogun from 1979-1983.

He had been in engineering consulting business before his present senate election. He has had no previous elected or legislative experience.

Dalhatu Umaru Sangari, 42, senator from Taraba South, is listed as having a doctoral degree in Land Resources Development from the University of Ibadan.

Previously an academician at Bayero University, Kano where he was Deputy Dean, Post-Graduate School from 1996-98, he was previously elected as a senator during the Abacha transition regime. He has no previous legislative experience.

Tunde Ogbeha, 52, senator from Kogi State, is listed as having a West African School Certification and a military diploma from the Nigerian Defence Academy, and studied for one year at the Policy and Strategic Defense Studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru.

He was Military Governor of Akwa Ibom State (1988-89) and of Bendel State (1989-90). He has no previous legislative or elected experience, and listed his occupation as "pensioner" before his present position

Abdul U. Yandoma, 47, senator from Katsina North, has an advanced diploma in Public Administration, and was previously elected as a House of Representatives member during the 1992/93 Babangida transition.

Last but not the least is Francis Arthur Nzeribe, 61, a Senator from Imo West, with a West African School Certificate (from Holy Ghost College, Owerri) and elected a Senator for the third time - in 1983, 1998 and 1999.

He lists his occupation as "Businessman worldwide" and "Defence" as his legislative interest.

Therefore, despite the generally weak record of legislative or elected experience - that is, except for Idris Kuta and Nzeribe - the membership of the Kuta probe panel with four doctorates, 3 lawyers, two university professors, etcheram, etcheram was a high-wattage one against which you cannot easily shake a stick.

One would be forgiven to have high expectations of their sober pronouncements. Please note that I do not consider it worthy here to comment on which camp - pro- or anti-Okadigbo, pro- or anti-Obasanjo, these individuals are speculated to be in.


Let me admit that I was not present at any of the proceedings, but I watched some them on TV while in Nigeria. I have not yet obtained the full Volume One (the Verbatim report) of the proceedings. Nevertheless, while in Nigeria, several newspapers published verbatim the questions-and-answers of the panel and and the probed.

As morning shows the day, let us look at JUST THE FIRST DAY, as reported by the newsdaily "ThisDay", a copy of which I have in my hands. Here is one excerpt taken directly from "ThisDay" newspaper of July 29, 2000:

Excerpt # 1 Pages 14-15 of ThisDay: Kuta as Questioner

Sitting Suspended 12:00 noon
Sitting Resumed 2:55 pm

The Chairman: Members of the Ad-Hoc Committee, the Clerk to the National Assembly and distinguished Members of the Press, we welcome you to this first sitting of the Ad-Hoc Committee that has been appointed to investigate contract awards in the Senate from 4th of June 1999 to 17th of July, 2000.

With these few remarks, I hope we have our first Witness for today who is the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Ibrahim Salim. Alhaji Salim, before we begin, I would like you to take the Oath.

[Alhaji Ibrahim in the Witness Chair Sworn on the Quran. The Chairman examines the CAN-in-Chief.]

Chairman: Let me take you, first of all, on the personal emoluments or allowances of members. By the constitution only the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal commission has the authority to fix salaries of all public officers including members of the National Assembly. What effort has the National Assembly made in order to allow the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission to fix our salaries and allowances?

Clerk of the National Assembly:..If that was going to take long before the commission could embark on that process (because of the salary review process) of reviewing the allowances, they could take this matter to the floor of both Houses (Senate and House of Representatives) and get a resolution and that resolution can override the circular in the interim

Chairman: Was the resolution ever passed?

Clerk of the National Assembly: Well, I do not think so. The Clerk of Senate should answer that.

Chairman: Clerk, Senate, what was the position

[Clerk of Senate shook his head.]

Let us understand this scenario properly: the Clerk of the National Assembly, after being duly sworn in, makes a statement in connection with another potential witness, the Clerk of the Senate, who is seated in the courtroom, but not sworn in yet. The chairman of the enquiry SURVEYS the panel room, then ASKS from a member of the audience, this Clerk of the Senate, not under any oath, whether a particular piece of testimony is true or not, to which that Clerk of the Senate nods in the negative!

The nod is taken into evidence.

Only in Nigeria!

Excerpt # 2 Pages 15-16 of ThisDay: Kuta as Questioner

Chairman: So, who is in the position to give us information on the reason for paying for 120 cushion covers or 120 foot pump air compressors?

CNA: Maybe, the former chairman of the Senate Committee or probably the House services. I do not really know.

Chairman: Secretary, can you make a note of that, please. I guess you mean Senator A.T. Ahmed?

CNA: That is right.

Chairman: This was not done during the tenure of the Sole Administrator?

CNA: Which Sole Administrator?

Chairman Kuta: When Senator A.T. Ahmed was removed, Senator Gbenga Aluko was appointed as the Sole Administrator?

CNA: Yes. Senator Gbenga Aluko may shed some light on that.

Chairman Kuta: That is alright.

Thus, Chairman Kuta leads the witness into making an untrue statement about the appointment of Senator Gbenga Aluko as a Sole Administrator.

No such appointment was ever made.

Excerpt # 3 - Nzeribe as Questioner; Page 16

Senator Nzeribe: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Alhaji Salim, I will start from where you left off. I wish to point out to you that particular meeting, only seven Principal Officers were present and seventeen were absent, I mean the acknowledged convened, because there was no quorum?

Clerk of the National Assembly: I agree with you..

Senator Nzeribe: Fifty-two contractors whom we gave jobs not even one was previously registered by the National Assembly and you have well over, from this list, 125 registered contractors and who had paid their registration fees, yet none of them was used. Does it not show that something is fishy?

CNA: I agree with you.

Nzeribe: So you agree with me that something is fishy?

CNA: Yes, because of the way things were done which I had explained earlier.

Nzeribe: Thank you, now my final question. You tendered a letter here from the secretary of the Federal Government complimenting you and your staff for being transparent etcetera. I join him in so doing. But I would like to confirm that this compliment terminated with your activities as at 28th May, 1999. That is what I wanted to underline. It does not cover the period from 28th May, 1999 to date.

CNA: No.

Nzeribe: Which in your language you would say is disgraceful, would you not?

Clerk of the National Assembly: Well, I would say, yes, it is not appropriate.

Nzeribe: You would say it is tinted with corruption?

Clerk of the National Assembly: I would say it is inappropriate.

Nzeribe: I thank you. Mr. Chairman, that is all from me.

Thus in the very first day of taking testimonies, by the end of the very first witness, Senator Nzeribe was ready to declare that the actions in the Senate were "disgraceful.tinted with corruption." If that is not bias brought to bear on his investigative job, one wonders how bias is defined.

THE RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS OF THE KUTA PANEL (A) A Case of Differential Treatment? The Verdicts against Senators Adamu, Girei, Aruwa & Co.

Let us quickly pan to the conclusions and recommendations on certain of the senators: Adamu, Girei, Aruwa and co:


  1. Senator Bala Adamu - Chairman Senate Committee on Special Duties
    1. The N10 million released by the senate for relief materials to riot victims in Kaduna and other affected areas was not properly accounted for. The prices of the items bought as relief materials were found to be High and the N1.5 million paid for demurrage is unexplainable.

    2. In order to shield senators from possible abuses it is recommended that senators should not be involved in the direct purchase of relief materials. Instead cash should be presented to the intended beneficiaries.

    3. It is recommended that Senator Bala Adamu should fully retire the N10 million advanced to him.

  2. Senator Abubakar H. Girei - Chairman Senate Services Committee
    Senator A.H. Girei admitted initiating the memo to collect N6.2 million to purchase Sallah gifts for the senators, in which most of the items were over priced, especially the cows and rams, which were bought at a unit cost of N50,000 and N20,000 respectively. On the basis of market survey, the unit price of the ram bought is not more than N10,000. It is recommended that the excess price of N2,180,000 of the rams should be refunded by Senator Abubakar H. Girei. Furthermore, Senator A.H. Girei connived with his counterpart in the House of Representatives to appoint consultants, for phase III project when this was unnecessary because the contract was a Turnkey project.

    It is recommended that this project be handed over to the relevant government agencies.

  3. Senator Salisu Matori
    Senator Matori is a director of the Royal Exchange Assurance and it was alledged that he pressurised the director of finance and supplies into paying the N21 million for insurance cover of National Assembly vehicles. He admitted facilitating the payment of the money that was owed the insurance company.

  4. Senator Ifeanyi Araraume
    His company, Exclusive International Ltd. Was awarded the contract for the furnishing of the senate president's office annex at a cost of N3,738,525.00. He denied influencing the award of the contract and Denied being told about it by his wife who took over from him as chief executive/managing director. The committee finds it difficult to believe his testimony.

  5. Senator Idi Guda
    His company Tiksa got one contract for the supply of stationery at a cost of N1.07 million. He admitted this.

  6. Senator Mukhtar Ahmed Mohammed Aruwa
    Senator Aruwa handled the allocation of the 117 official cars to senators. He could not produce a list of how those cars were allocated; albeit he told the committee that one of the cars was missing (Peugeot 504 station wagon).

    In their testimonies, Senator Evan Enwerem, Senator Chuba Okadigbo and director of finance and supplies claimed that Senator Aruwa was responsible for the 66 new cars bought for the National Assembly.

    He claimed he didn't participate in the purchase of vehicles, but later said that ASD Motors offered a unit price of N2.2 million.

    Again evidence including vouchers from the director of finance and supplies show that Senator Aruwa was responsible for purchase of the cars in question, as follows

    1. 6Nos. 505/Evolution at N3,119,000/each
    2. 7Nos. 504 S/W A/C at N2,410,250/each
    3. 1No. 504 pick up van at N2,132,000/each
    Delivery Charges = N33,600/Cars X 66 = N2,217,600

    Similarly, Senator Aruwa was connected with the street light project, from the National Assembly to the Eagle Square, as testified by the Senate President, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo and the director of finance and supplies.

    It is recommend that Senator Aruwa should be meant to account properly for the vehicles he purchased for the National Assembly.

    One would have expected that not only should all of the senators been requested to refund monies (as some others were), but they should also have been called upon to resign some/any of their positions in the Senate leadership, again just as others were.

    For example, if the conclusions are to be believed, Bala Adamu and Abubakar Girei DIRECTLY abused their positions as Chairmen of Special Services and Senate Services committtees, and should DEFINITELY have been asked to relinquish these positions.

    The recommendation with respect to Senator Aruwa is even more inscrutable.

    He appears to have lied about his involvement in the purchase of vehicles, possibly as many as 117. Vouchers linked him DIRECTLY with such purchases.

    Let us read Section 8.2 of the report:

    8.2 (I) Cars
    A total of 117 cars were bought for the National Assembly by the defunct Senate Services Committee under the chairmanship of Senator A.T. Ahmed. Senator Ahmed claimed that the powers of acquiring vehicles were delegated to the Chairman of his Subcommittee on Transport, Senator Ahmed Aruwa. This claim was further authenticated by the Director of Finance and Supplies and the Senate President, Senator Chuba Okadigbo.

    8.3 It was very clear from the investigation that 117 cars were bought in two phases: 51 Peugeot (505) and 66 Peugeot (505) all by the Senate Service Committee on behalf of the National Assembly. This figure of 117 vehicles, when added to the earlier figure of 47 Peugeot bought by the Executive before the National Assembly was inaugurated, brings the figure to 164 vehicles.

    8.4 The defunct Senate Services Committee contravened the Federal Government directives that official cars should be purchased directly from manufacturer (PAN) and not vendors. Because of that contravention, cost difference of N2,615,250 and N18,394,098 were incurred in the first and second batchers of vehicle procurement respectively, as revealed by the evidence in Table 4 below:

    Yet, no refund demand of excess of N21 million is made of Senator Aruwa.

    Rather, he is merely requested to "account properly for the vehicles he purchased for the National Assembly" - as if that is not what he should have done in the first instance.

    Again, I do not wish to speculate why these senators were so treated.

(B) A Case of Malice? The Verdict against Senator Gbenga Aluko

The verdict of the Kuta panel on Senator Gbenga Aluko was particularly harsh, painting him as being "in the centre of the scam." He was asked to resign his position as Deputy Chief Whip of the Majority party and to refund the highest amount of money - N74 million.

Here is an example of a reference from the report:

"Section 3.9b Senator Aluko's company, Associated Logistics and another Company belonging to his wife, Independent Strategist Ltd., won contracts for the supply of office equipment. Nine other companies whose owners or sponsors Senator Aluko failed to disclose also won contract for the supply of office equipment. In the absence of any evidence linking these other companies with specific Senator, THERE IS A PRESUMPTION THAT THESE COMPANIES ARE HIS OR WERE SPONSORED BY HIM." [CAPITAL EMPHASIS MINE.]

Kindly read and re-read the capitalized portion of that reference.

Does it make sense to anyone that senators of Nigeria cannot independently determine the owners of any company in Nigeria, and hence will go ahead and presume that Senator Gbenga Aluko owns or sponsors them all?

Furthermore, will they be unwise enough to put that presumption in a report to be read by the whole world, and then proceed to base a judgement on that presumption? Is that fair? Hardly.

This is besides the absolute material untruth that Independent Strategist Ltd. belongs to his wife. This is without prejudice to the fact that just the one company belonging to Gbenga and engaged in any contract involving him as Senator-member of the Services Committee is offensive.

Here is another reference from the report:

Section 3.8 As regards the N45 million allocated for Renovation of Apo Quarters the former Chairman, Senator Samaila Mamman, denied receiving the N15 million allocated to him. Furthermore, Senator Aluko did not produce any list of Senators who benefited from the N30 million set aside for them. He has however, subsequently, produced some dubious claims on how the N35 m was spent, and this included the alleged purchase and installation of a 100 KVA Perkins sound proof generator for Apo Mansion at an inflated price of N15,000,000, installation of Lightening Arrestors in Senator's quarters at N16,000,000 and reroofing of Senator Diffa's House and Senator Ita-Giwa's house at N4m.


Also, once again, please read and re-read the capitalized portion of that reference - "EVEN IT IS TRUE......HOW [SENATOR'S} MONEY SHOULD BE SPENT..."

What kind of judgment is that, for crying out loud?

The "produced dubious claims" were contained in a letter FROM THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE & SUPPLIES TO SENATOR GBENGA ALUKO, explaining that Gbenga had NOTHING to do, directly or indirectly, with the N35 million in question.

If this testimony by the DF&S was dubious, what about ALL THE OTHER TESTIMONIES of this same official who had absolutely no reason to want to protect Senator Gbenga Aluko?

I will give a third reference:


Section 7.3 b (ii)
The Senate President, Senator Chuba Okadigbo, abdicated his responsibilities to Senator Gbenga Aluko, who wielded unrestricted powers in the award of various contracts on behalf of the Senate President........

Section 7.5 (d) Senator Gbenga Aluko

  1. Senator Gbenga Aluko acted as the "Sole Administrator" of the Senate Services Committee between November 30, 1999 and February 15, 2000.
  2. During that period, Senator Aluko, in the absence of the Senate Services Committee, was only responsible to the Senate.
  3. He further said under oath that 43 Senators benefited from Senate and National Assembly contracts. HE HOWEVER, FAILED TO MENTION THE NAMES OF THE BENEFITING SENATORS, THEREBY SMEARING HIS COLLEAGUES AND THE SENATE.

Yes, Okadigbo "ABDICATED HIS RESPONSIBILITIES . UNRESTRICTED POWERS!" Yet, between June 4 and November 18, 1999 Okadigbo was not Senate President (Enwerem was), during which time Gbenga Aluko was the Vice-Chairman to Senator AT Ahmed. [A.T. Ahmed was formerly Managing Director of Nigerian Airports Authority when Enwerem was its Chairman.] After February 15 and until July 17 2000 when the Kuta Probe was instituted, Senator Gbenga Aluko was NOT a member of the Senate Services Committee.

The material fact is that Senator Gbenga Aluko was "Acting Chairman" (there was no official designation of "Sole Administrator", which a military hangover title; this is a tongue-in-cheek title conferred by Idris Kuta himself) by default of the Senate Services Committee between December 2 and 21 when the Senate went on recess (and he went abroad on holidays) until January 18. This was the only time, therefore, when Gbenga could have been "at the centre of a scam" involving Okadigbo after Okadigbo "abdicated his responsibilities."

The Kuta report FAILS to indicate HOW MANY awards were initiated and/or made DURING THIS PERIOD OF Gbenga's so-called SOLE ADMINISTRATORSHIP, what was their value, who were there initiators, etc.

Yet, some dates of contracts were given in Table 3 of their report, which could easily have been matched with the critical periods in question. This is notwithstanding the fact that Table 3 is both (deliberately?) incomplete and confusing.

It appears, therefore, that the report DELIBERATELY wished to leave the impression with the public that Gbenga was acting like a kid, a "small boy" in a candy store, dispensing contracts unchecked during this period.

Another material untruth: no where in his testimony does Senator Gbenga Aluko state "under oath that 43 Senators benefited from Senate and National Assembly contracts." The verbatim records are here to read.

Let me give a fourth and final reference:


Section 9n
Senator Gbenga Aluko - Deputy Chief Whip

As Sole Administrator of the Senate Service Committee, he grossly abused his office and became a dispenser of patronage to a select few. He awarded several contracts at inflated prices, including two companies owned by himself and his wife Mrs. Olufemi Shille Aluko - these companies are Associated Logistics Ltd. And Independent Strategists Ltd.

He awarded contracts to several other companies whose owners/sponsors he refused to disclose and which are believed to be his proxies. Particularly he awarded the computer contract for the supply of Laptop computers to Tritech Computers Ltd. and that for N66 million office equipment to a total of eleven companies, all at inflated prices.

Evidence before the Committee shows that he witheld the sum of N35 million out of the N45 million provided for disbursement to senators for the repair of their quarters.

The Committee finds senator Gbenga Aluko to have abused his office and therefore recommends that:

  1. He should resign as deputy Whip for these abuses.
  2. He should refund the sum of N35 million and a further N39,257,598 million by which the computers and office equipment were over-priced as detailed in Table 5.

I have already addressed the issue of the "Sole Administrator" business, and the aim of the Kuta panel of using this temporary, short-term position to situate Senator Gbenga Aluko "in the centre of the scam."

I have also addressed the circumstances of the N35 million through the letter of the DF&S, for which again an untruth was stated that there was "Evidence before the committee...." when in fact the only evidence was to the contrary.

Again, as another material fact, just as Gbenga's wife does not own or have any interests in Associated Logistics, THERE IS NOBODY ANYWHERE called "Mrs. Olufemi Shille Aluko", and the fraudulent, possibly criminal, circumstances of this false statement will eventually have to be resolved.

With regard to inflation of prices of office equipment, Xerox Nigeria has written a letter to Senator Gbenga Aluko TESTIFYING that the prices were right, and that all the machines were new and not refurbished.
Click here to read Xerox Letter to Gbenga Aluko

This was to rebut the Kuta report's baseless allegation presented at the footnote of Table 5 of their report that




What about inflation of the computer prices? If a report states that certain computer prices were INFLATED, then it has the OBLIGATION to state what the EXPECTED price was, and be truthful about it - that is elementary fairness.

But how does Senator Aluko attack this particular accusation? Let us read an excerpt of his submission before the Panel, which was on Wednesday, July 26:


I have, times without number, asked those who are literate enough to use the computer and have access to the Internet to visit the website of Dell Corporation at were the prices of the Dell Latitude Cpx laptop and accompanying Leather Case is quoted at $3,221 and $90 respectively. That is $3,311 directly from the manufacturers. See attached Dell price list as published by the company. Appendix IV.

The equivalent actory price in naira is therefore N354,277 at N107 to the dollar.

If we add a very conservative 30 per cent of factory price to cover airfreight, import duty, 7 per cent Import Surcharge, 5 per cent VAT, port charges etc, we arrive at a landed cost in Nigeria of N460,560 each or N50,661,600 for 110 laptops. The total contract price to Tritech Computers was N59,400,000 out of which N5,940,000 was deducted as VAT and withholding tax, leaving a balance of N53,460,000 or N486,000 per unit. That gives the company a 5.5 per cent profit margin, hardly an inflated price as constantly reported by the press and accusation by colleagues who know little or nothing about computers. See Appendix V.


So he not only referred readers to the Dell site, but also quoted prices from therein in his own defence, but the Kuta committee COMPLETELY IGNORED his submissions, just as it ignored the letter from the Director of Finance and Supply, and that from Xerox Corporation. How then do you base a judgement simply on the allegations, and take no cognizance of the defence? That does not sound fair.

The very fact that Senator Evan Enwerem, as Senate President, authorized on August 31, 1999, the purchase of similar computers from the same company (Task System Ltd.) for the higher price of 550,000 each rather than N391,500 at which they were purchased later is left COMPLETELY UN-NOTED by the Kuta report! Enwerem is not accused of any inflation.

In any case, let us ask ourselves a simple question: if prices of computers and equipments are inflated, SHOULD SENATOR GBENGA ALUKO BE ASKED TO REFUND THE DIFFERENCE, or the companies who inflated the prices? Does it make sense otherwise?

So what am I getting at? The Senate investigations were good, and unprecedented in our history.

To many, it is not that the monkey rode a bicycle well that concerns them, but that it rode a bicycle at all! Thus the very fact that these hearings were held must be commended. Clearly a number of Senators did some things that should not have been done - participating in contract awards to the neglect of their legislative duties, receiving outrageous welfare packages in the midst of Nigeria's poverty, engaging in some conflict-of-interest, etc..

One could also question what the Executive branch and the civil service were looking at while all this was going on Since June 1999.

Nevertheless, the Idris Kuta report as written DOES NOT PASS THE LEGAL SMELL TEST, and shows both lack of rigour and hints of outright malice aforethought in some cases, in its body language, conclusions and recommendations, as I have pointed out in many references above.

It plays on the indignant sentiment of the Nigerian people, maligning the reputation of some senators, notably Senator Gbenga Aluko, in a very malicious manner. If we are to be rational, we must go beyond questioning WHETHER SENATORS SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN CONTRACTS AT ALL - which we agree they should not be - to whether, having involved themselves in contracts, they have actually engaged in fraudulent activities in the process, such as contract non-performance or inflation.

It is this second charge that it is reasonable that Senator Aluko should wish to extricate himself from, among other charges.

Luckily, an increasing number of eminent Nigerians, including Olisa Agbakoba, members of the press and many Senators themselves (who eminence may be arguable to some readers), have begun to question more closely the fairness of various aspects of the Kuta report, and more of that will be heard in the coming days as the report itself is fully debated in the Senate.

In closing, I therefore ask that we rise above "Jankara" mob justice and mean-spirited character assassinations, despite our understandable indignation at the kinds of monies involved in this debacle.

Our country needs a SYSTEMIC approach to solving our various problems, but throwing off the rule-of-law in many of its ramifications, witch-hunting and demonization cannot be used to establish the rule-of-law.


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