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Criminal action against Edo ex-speaker

The new leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly has threatened to institute criminal action against a former Speaker of the assembly, Hon Elisabeth Ativie, over refusal of Ativie to return her official vehicles.

It said claims by the former Speaker that the vehicles were given to her by former governor Adams Oshiomhole were untrue as there was no evidence to show that Oshiomhole and the leadership of the House took such decision.

Hon Ativie who represents Uhunmwode constituency served as Speaker for 84 days after the impeachment of Hon Victor Edoror.

Ativie stepped down as a result of political pressure for balance of power in the state and Hon Justin Okonoboh emerged as Speaker while she became Deputy Speaker.

Last week, both the Ativie and Okonoboh were impeached but Ativie has refused to return her official vehicles.

Ativie had through her lawyer, Olayiwola Afolabi, written the Assembly that the vehicles were given to her by former Governor Oshiomhole as compensation for relinquishing her position as Speaker.

She stated in the letter that she has sold one of the vehicles, a Prado Jeep 2016 model.

Current Speaker of the Assembly, Hon Kabiru Adjoto, in a letter to Counsel to Ativie’s, lawyer, said the signature in the letter purportedly written to Ativie by Oshiomhole was not genuine.

Speaker Adjoto in the letter signed by the clerk of the House, Mr James Omoataman, pointed out that the leadership of the House warned of severe consequences of parading such document.

Adjoto said original documents of the vehicles were still in possession of the House.

The letter reads in parts, “As your client will recall,the said vehicles were purchased for the use of the office of the Speaker when your client occupied the office. Consequently, when she became the Deputy Speaker, the official vehicles were left with her office whilst alternative arrangement were made for the office of the Speaker.

“Despite the clarity of the above, your client deliberately skewed the words used in the purported letter from the former governor claiming that the former governor wrote to say the vehicles were given to her, which is far from the truth.

“Further, the original documents of the vehicles are still in the possession of the House of Assembly till date which means that title to the vehicles were never transferred or intended to be transferred to your client contrary to your client’s assertions.

“Accordingly, I hereby reiterate my instruction and demand your client’s immediate return of the vehicles attached to the office of the Deputy Speaker which are still in her possession. Finally, if your client maintains that she indeed sold one of the vehicles, the Lexus Jeep 2016 model, then we expect that your client will furnish us with the details of sales.

It warned further that “the House expects to receive all the said vehicles or the vehicles that have not been sold, together with the details of the alleged sale of the Lexus jeep as enumerated not later than 2 days from the date of receipt of this letter. Failure to do so will attract the necessary legal action, both civil and criminal against your client”.

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