A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos was told yesterday that Lagos State House of Assembly Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, approved about N22 million cash payment for the members for the 2011 Ramadan celebration.
A prosecution witness, Mr. Adebayo Adeniji, said this while testifying in the ongoing trial of Ikuforiji and his personal assistant, Oyebode Alade Atoyebi.
Both Ikuforiji and Atoyebi had been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for engaging in alleged financial transactions above a specified level without using a financial institution.
Adeniji, an investigating officer with EFCC, who was being led in evidence by the prosecution lawyer, Mr Godwin Obla, told the court presided over by Justice Okechukwu Okeke that investigations showed that financial transactions in the Assembly were done in cash in contravention of the law.
Okeke adjourned the case to March 19, 20, and 21 for continuation of trial. But before the adjournment, the witness had told the court that the various statements retracted from members of the Assembly as well as the first and second accused revealed the fact that all financial transactions in the legislature were done without going through any financial institution.
He referred to the statement retracted from a legislator, Mr. Bolaji Ayila (who saw to the welfare of members), stressing that it showed that in 2011, Ikuforiji approved N22 million for the Ramadan celebration for the lawmakers.
Adeniji said Ayila had revealed that the money was paid to him in cash from the cash office in the Accounts Department of the Assembly.
He added that another statement retrieved from a former Clerk of the House, Mr. Adewale Taiwo, showed that even training allowance, flight allowance and course allowance paid to members were given to them in cash rather than cheques