By Henry Odeh
The Oyo State House of Assembly has refuted claims of its account freezing by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as widely reported in the media describing the news report as a baseless rumour.
The Chairman House Committee on Information, Hon. Kazeem Olayanju, who made this reaction on behalf of the House in a press statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday July 28, also maintained that neither the House account nor that of any Director was frozen by the EFCC.
Sunrisebulletin.com earlier reported that the account of the House was allegedly frozen by the antigraft agency over allegations of financial impropriety bothering on procurements of official cars for the state lawmakers by the House.
Sources in government and the State House of Assembly told this news medium that as part of investigations, the antigraft agency is expanding its investigative net to include funds for constituency projects and monthly running cost.
According to the earlier report of Sunrisebulletin, EFCC reportedly visited the state House of Assembly during the early hours of Tuesday to invite top officials of the House for questioning which was said to last several hours before their eventual release the same day.
Speculations became rife on Wednesday July 28 that the EFCC had unfreeze the alleged House account.
Contrary to claims by the House in a released press statement on Wednesday 28 of July that neither account of the House nor any Director was frozen, an official of the EFCC told this news medium that it takes a process which may last more than a week to unfreeze any account that is already frozen adding that the EFCC only freezed the account of a DFA (Director of Finance and Account) by placing a Post-No-Debit (PND) on the said account.
However, in what could be described as a swift response, the House in a statement by the Chairman, House Committee on Information on Wednesday, Hon. Olayanju refuted the widely reported news maintaining that neither the House account nor any Director’s account was frozen.
“Recently EFCC invited some top staff of the House over a petition on how we bought our official cars as State lawmakers. They appeared, answered all questions and all necessary documents were presented for accountability sake and that was all.
“The assembly has been running all its legislative duties in line with the laid down procedures We hold plenaries, perform oversight functions to the best of our ability ,and ultimately doing our best for the entire Oyo State. Where do will get fund to run the day to day activities if the Account of the Assembly had been frozen?
“We want to appeal to journalists and every media practitioner to be more professional and always put the ethics of the job first. They play a crucial role in our democracy and should always do it in the best interest of the people.
“The House is open, the office of the speaker is open and our lines are always available for clarification of any information just to ensure their reports are objective, balanced and factual,” Hon Olayanju said.
However, the conflicting positions of the House in its press statement and source in the anti-graft agency have left many speculating and hopeful that the EFCC will make an official statement on the lingering controversy surrounding the development to clarify all grey areas.