American Billionaire and Philanthropist, Bill Gates has denied allegations that he bribed Nigerian lawmakers with $10 million to fast track the passing of the control of Infectious Disease Bill currently before the Nigerian Parliament.
The spokesperson for the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere had alleged in a press conference that the Billionaire offered incentives to members of the House of Representatives, so that the bill will be passed quickly.
Subsequently, the House had set up an investigative committee which has invited the CUPP spokesperson personally for further clarity on the allegations raised.
Rather than attend the hearing of the committee initially, Ikenga Ugochinyere had sent his legal representative, Barr. Tochukwu Uhazirike.
A Representative of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, Dr. Pauliu Basinga also appeared before the House committee on Monday, and said Bill Gates or any of his associates never had any interaction with the Nigerian Parliament.
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has recently been made aware of an allegation circulating in certain elements of the Nigerian media that the Foundation was involved in a payment purportedly made to the Nigeria House of Representatives. Any such allegations are entirely false and without merit.
“To be clear, the Foundation has not offered any financial incentives to any member of Nigeria’s legislative branch for the passage of legislation nor has it offered any grants to organisations in Nigeria in connection with the same.
The Foundation adheres to strict ethical and legal guidelines across all areas of its operations”, Dr. Basinga said.
“The legal representative for Ikenga Ugochinyere was told by the Committee Chairman, Henry Nwawuba (PDP, Imo), that the spokesperson had made the allegations directly and not through a legal representative.
As such he must appear personally before the House to clarify the issues he raised.
“We have a mandate to investigate the allegation by your client, and any attempt in whatever manner to derail it will be met with the full weight of the parliament. You cannot bring a letter to the House on the day of an investigation in an attempt to stop it.
You cannot bring a letter to the House on the day of an investigation in an attempt to stop it.
“What we do here is constitutional, and just like the procedures read out to you, he must be here present, accompanied by you, if he so wishes. But we won’t listen to you on this matter, so you tell your principal to make himself available by Thursday, failure of which we are will turn in our recommendation to the House”. He said.
He advised Nigerian media houses that published the allegation, that as partners in nation building, they should vet spuoriius allegations before publishing.