From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa The Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Konbowei Friday Benson has broken his silence over the alleged misappropriation of N78 million.
Benson speaking on the floor of the House stated that the allegation that members of the House embezzled the money approved for them to attend the 43rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) regional conference was untrue.
The Speaker, who alleged that some aggrieved politicians are already inciting some members of the House to impeach him, stated that members of the house could not have embezzled funds approved for them to travel.
The plot to impeach him he said was being coordinated by five former local government chairmen who were removed for financial irregularities. His words: "We had a mission to attend to in South Africa, so, not minding the odds, we decided to travel.
"There was no intention to embezzle money meant for the trip as is being alleged in the media. Let me also put this on record that the Speaker and the members of this house to ordinarily embezzle funds that were approved for us is indeed very ridiculous in the ears.
"It was in the spirit of togetherness and cooperation that for the first time I and the leadership of this House, graciously forwarded the names of the entire members of this House for that journey. It has never been like that any time in the history of this House.
"It is unprecedented and it was in that good will that we actually undertook the journey to South.
"Yes, it is always said that it is better late, than never. It was in the spirit of oneness that we undertook that journey, only to come back home and be greeted with a lot of complains and embarrassing reports in the media, alleging fraud, conspiracy several allegations on Honourable members, I believe that this House is resolute."
Neither Mr. Speaker nor members of this House embezzled any money meant for an official trip as is being wrongly alleged in the media. According to him members of the House saw the South Africa trip as an opportunity to build capacity, pointing out that the governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson graciously approved that sum of money for the journey because of the importance he attaches to capacity building.