Following the allegation of abuse of office, the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja has frozen the imprest account of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, pending the determination of the trial of the speaker and four other principal officers of the house.
A parliamentary staff of the Bayelsa state house of assembly who pleaded anonymity told TNN in Yenagoa that the development has affected the activities of the state legislature negatively as members now attend sittings without sitting allowances.
The source also hinted that the salaries of some staff of the state assembly especially casual workers have been withheld as a result of the frozen account, adding that life had become miserable for those workers as they were yet to receive their April salaries.
It could be recalled that the speaker, Friday Kombowei Benson, Clerk of the Assembly, Aaron W. Timiye; retired accountant, Thomas Tamaraodubo; current clerk, Owudogu Edward and accountant, Koroye A. Stephen were arraigned on May 22 by the CCT in Abuja for abuse of office.
According to a statement by the Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal Justice Danladi Y. Umar, the offences filed against them were on four count charge of alleged abused of office against Hon Friday Kombowei Benson, the Speaker Bayelsa state House of Assembly, Cleark of Bayelsa state House of Assembly, Mr Aaron W. Timiye (retired) and Accountant, Bayelsa state House of Assembly Mr Thomas Tamaraodubo (retired).
“This was contained in a correspondence from Code of Conduct Bureau, addressed to Chairman Code of Conduct Tribunal to commence trial, dated 30th day of April 2019, jointly signed by the operatives of Code of Conduct Bureau: Musa Ibrahim Usman and Fatima Kere Ahmed.
“The application reads; 'pursuant to section 24 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, I hereby apply to the Tribunal for the commencement of trial for the offence of Abuse of Office contrary to paragraph 9 of the fifth schedule, part 1 of the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and punishable under paragraph 18 (1) and (2) of the same constitution, and as incorporated under section 13 and 23 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act CAP C15 LFN 2004.”
Meanwhile, the speaker, Kombowei Benson has failed to appear before the CCT since he was arraigned alongside four others on May 22.
It was gathered that only the four principal officers had been appearing at the code of conduct tribunal. The next sitting is scheduled to hold on June 18.
Benson has blamed his ordeal on a member representing Brass constituency 1 in the state assembly and member-elect for Brass/Nembe federal constituency, Mr. Israel Sunny-Goli.
The speaker had said in a statement in Yenagoa that it was Sunny-Goli who pettitioned him for allegedly withholding his entitlements as member of the state assembly, arguing that the lawmaker had allegedly abandoned sittings for long, an allegation that Sunny-Goli denied.