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REPORT YOUR REP: Bank Loans, Exotic Cars, Girlfriends – Why your lawmaker is still a broke in spite of jumbo pay

LEGISREPORTS NG – The public outcry against the jumbo salaries and allowances pocketed by members of the National Assembly is only one aspect of the shame these greedy lawmakers suffer. The other part is that many of these lawmakers are poor in pockets and entangled in myriad of debts notwithstanding the opulence their obscene wages tend to confer on them.

This double tragedy is self-inflicted. And this is how it works.Knowledgeable sources have reliably informed LEGISREPORTS that some of these senators and members of the House of Representatives, especially the first-timers, walked themselves into the circle of debt by picking up huge loans from commercial banks at the start of their tenure.

Immediately after their swearing in as members of the National Assembly, marketers from the commercial banks many of which have branches (or better still cash offices) in the sprawling legislative complex approach them with mouth-watering and hard-to-resist financing offers.

Aware of the accommodation problems most of the members face at that time and confident that a quarterly inflow of N45million is a sound financial base to recoup funds, the bankers dangle housing loans of N100million or/and more with plausible repayment plans.

The entrapment (usually downplayed and unnoticeable by the gullible lawmaker) is that once the loan is consummated, an irrevocable payment plan is signed off. The implication of this is that as soon as the lawmaker receives his/her quarterly wage, the bank draws a huge part of the funds (up to 80%) immediately to service the loan.

This leaves the senator/representative with a meagre amount to service his other obligations and before you know it, he/she is broke before the next quarterly payment is made from the public purse.But wait for the worse part of it all.

Some of these members are profligate and lavish spenders and because they are full of expectations of the slush funds (from other legislative activities like ‘oversight’ visits) that should come their way as senators and House of Reps’ members, the purpose for obtaining these loans are subverted and the monies put to other less noble uses.

Many cases abound of how some of these lawmakers applied huge loans to buy luxury cars, choose choice concubines, and run bogus lifestyles alien to their upbringing and background before they staged a ‘breakthrough’ to Abuja.

When some of these expectations of funds inflows are not materializing and the bank loans bite harder, the lawmaker becomes broke and then desperate to secure other sources of funding that are not usually noble, legal or morally acceptable. Thus, a vicious circle of double jeopardy is created and sustained, earning your senator and representative more public opprobrium.

Some of the financial scandals and stories of sleaze that have oozed out of the supposed hallowed chambers of the National Assembly are simply off-shoots of the bad roots dug by the representatives. And examples abound, some of which have been exclusively reported by LEGISREPORTS before.

Recall the case of Hon. Herman Hembe, the enfant terrible former chairman of the House of Representatives committee on capital market who staged a messy fight with the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over a N40 million ‘bribe’ demanded by the former to facilitate a public hearing on the collapse of the capital market? That scandal led to the fall of the House member from the chair of his committee chairmanship.

But worse of all, it earned a reputation collapse which he may not recover from in addition to his current judicial prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged collection of travel estacode from SEC for a foreign trip he did not make. In January this year, LEGISREPORTS published an exclusive report of how the disgraced and broke Hembe issued a N4m dud cheque to repay an indebtedness for which he was dragged before the police authorities in Abuja.

This lawmaker is very likely to belong to the category of legislators who obtained outrageous loans to service obscene and rascally lifestyles. And there are many of Hembe’s kind in both the Senate and House of Representatives.The outrageous salaries of our National Assembly members are been squandered by the equally outrageous lifestyles they lead.

Thus, there is little or nothing to show for the huge monies they collect from the public purse, apart from some altruistic interventions by some who embark on ‘empowerment’ programmes to benefit select constituents.

 

Parts of the report for this story were supplied by citizen reporters

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