Solomon Dalung, Minister of Youth and Sport, has said that he is unaware of the invitation allegedly issued by the House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Petitions. Dalung, who is on medical leave, also denied knowledge of the contract which was being probed.
The committee, chaired by Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, is probing an alleged bribery involving Solbec Limited, a contractor. The contractor had accused the Minister of Sports and other senior officials of demanding a N30 million bribe to approve a contract of N182 million.
A statement issued by Nneka Ikem Anibeze, the Minister’s Special Adviser on Media issues, stated that: “I have never been invited by the said NASS committee and never received any invitation from the Committee in respect of the allegations published.
“The contract was said to have been transacted between 27th, November 2013 and October 2015 by the then Ministry of Youth Development while I took an oath of office in November 2015. I am not even aware of the said transactions as I don’t even know the contractor involved or even the company.
“I did not mandate anybody to collect anything from anybody and so, not in the position to defend it. The whole allegation is coming to me as a surprise because before proceeding on medical vacation, I cannot remember receiving such petition,” it read in part.
Read: Reps Threaten To Arrest Dalung Over Alleged N30m Bribe
The Minister however challenged the Committee to present proof of summon and copy of the petition.
“There are laid down procedures of doing things and I believe that NASS is conversant with these practices common in democratic societies. As a law abiding citizen, I will never disregard invitation from NASS. If I have genuine reasons for not making it, I will communicate formally. The whole process looks like acting a script which is outside the confines of the law.
“The power of arrest of NASS is a shield intended to protect the integrity of the legislature and not a sword to hunt perceived or imaginary enemies.
“The threat is too hash and lacks the flavour of legislative complements because choosing a period of my absence on medical vacation is the worst form of injustice against humanity. However, whenever, I resume from my medical vacation, I will report to the Inspector General of Police or Sergeant at Arms for journey into detention, but for now, I am responding to my health,”Dalung said.