Probe Of Alleged Sexual Misconduct By Reps Begins Thursday

 Probe Of Alleged Sexual Misconduct By Reps Begins Thursday

house_of_reps_in_session_365648015The panel set up by the House of Representatives and led by Nicholas Ossai to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct and other misdemeanors in the United States by three of its members begins a public hearing on Thursday.
The three members, according to the letters of invitation from the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges are Mohammed Garba Gololo (APC, Bauchi); Samuel Ikon (PDP, Akwa Ibom) and Terseer Mark Gbillah (APC, Benue).
They were among 10 lawmakers who attended a leadership programme, which took place in Cleveland, Ohio, between April 7 and 13 this year.
The United States Embassy in Nigeria, had in a petition to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, alleged that the three lawmakers, by soliciting for sex from prostitutes brought disrepute to the parliament.
It would be recalled that the embattled trio in the alleged U.S. sex scandal had called on the House of Representatives to immediately launch a thorough investigation with a view to determine the veracity or otherwise of the allegations leveled against them.
Meanwhile, a member of the panel who sought anonymity yesterday said: “Apart from the U.S. Ambassador, the committee also extended invitation to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, National Human Rights Commission, the three accused lawmakers as well as the other seven members that attended the leadership programme,” the source said.
Chairman of the committee, Ossai yesterday explained that the panel has not extended invitation to the management of the hotel where the alleged sex misconduct took place because members expect the Ambassador to avail the committee of all necessary video evidence where the trio allegedly committed the crime.
According to him, the committee will conduct a public investigation because the members involved in the allegation had earlier demanded an open probe of the matter for Nigerians to determine their innocence or otherwise.
Specifically, the Speaker had after the House resolution last month, Tuesday 21, 2016, while inaugurating the Ossai-led Ethics Committee and the Foreign Affairs panel headed by Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje mandated the joint committee to investigate and determine the culpability or otherwise of the three members involved in the alleged sex misconduct.
Dogara had stated: “The standard in the U.S. is that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty and that is the same standard in Nigeria. Any one who has evidence can now see the committee.”
He said it was a serious allegation and assured that the incident will be thoroughly investigated with a view to getting to the bottom of the matter.


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