Delta State House of Assembly has again slammed the member representing Sapele constituency in the State Assembly and immediate past Speaker, Monday Igbuya, with another round of three-month suspension for allegedly embezzling the sum of N35.5 million belonging to the house.
It would be recalled that sometime in September, the Delta State House of Assembly had slammed the former Speaker with three-month suspension over alleged financial embezzlement while in office. A probe committee was set up during its executive session in October 2017, with a charge to submit its report in February 2018.
The suspension of Igbuya followed the presentation of a report by the ad hoc committee constituted to investigate his alleged financial recklessness, which was considered and adopted at Tuesday's plenary of the house presided over by the current Speaker, Sheriff Oborevwori,
Presenting the report of the ad hoc committee, the Chairman and Deputy Majority Leader of the House, Oboro Preyor, said that in line with the principles of natural justice and fair hearing as enshrined in Section 36 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), Igbuya was invited to appear before the committee on September 28.
He said the former Speaker did not attend the meeting, prompting the committee to adjourn to October 10, with a second letter of invitation dispatched to the official residence (as was the first letter) of Igbuya, who again compelled the committee to further adjourn its proceedings till October 17 due to his absence.
Preyor said a third letter of invitation was dispatched to former speaker's home and a copy copiously pasted on the entrance to his apartment, which was followed up by a text message to his telephone line, but to the chagrin of the committee, Igbuya once again ignored the invitation without giving an explanation for his continuous absence.
“At this point, it became crystal clear to the committee that it was a deliberate attempt on the part of the former Speaker to frustrate the work of the committee,” he said.
“Therefore, having satisfied the requirements of natural justice and the constitution by affording the Speaker the opportunity to tell his side of the story, which he has neglected or refused to avail himself of, the committee thus decided to proceed with its work."
He said the committee took a holistic review of the period during which Igbuya served as Speaker of the house, and sought testimonies from lawmakers who had useful information that could assist the committee in serving the cause of justice.
He added that during investigation, the committee discovered that between April 2016 and May 10, 2017, Igbuya operated as a Chief Executive Officer and as such ran the financial affairs of the house without recourse to due process.
The committee, he said also found that the former Speaker unilaterally withheld the legitimate earnings of seven honorable members of the house and there was no record to show that the monies withheld were paid back to the House of Assembly account.
After considering all the issues and findings raised by the committee, the house resolved that all financial entitlements of Igbuya be withheld forthwith and paid into the coffers of the House until such a time that he can offset the monies he unlawfully withheld from his colleagues and the sum of N35, 536, 370 that accrued to the house, which could not be unaccounted for during his regime as Speaker.
The house further resolved that Igbuya remains suspended for the period of another three months, making it a period of six months in all when he former Speaker will be absent from house plenaries without entitlements and other allowances.
Igbuya, formerly of the Peoples Democratic Party (PPDP), is now the All Progressives Congress (APC) House of Representatives candidate for the Sapele, Okpe and Uvwie Federal Constituency in the 2019 general election.
He was impeached by 22 of the 29 members of the House during plenary in May 2017, and was immediately replaced with the member representing Okpe constituency, Oborevwori.