Bill Gates denies offering $10 million for passage of health bill by Reps
Committee summons CUPP spokesman Ugochinyere to prove allegation
American billionaire, Bill Gates, has denied media reports that he offered a $10 million incentive to the leadership and members of the House of Representatives to ensure the passage of the controversial Control of Infectious Diseases Bill, 2020.
The philanthropist, who was represented by the country representative of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Pauliu Basinga, claimed that there was no interaction in what ever means between him or his foundation and the lower legislative chamber.
“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 Nigerian 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,” he stated.
This comes as the Henry Nwawuba-led committee investigating the issue has given the spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties, (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere, up till this Thursday to appear before it with evidence of inducement as alleged by him or face parliamentary contempt.
Ugochinyere, had on May 4, 2020 in a statement alleged that the House and its leadership had received a financial inducement to the tune of $10 million to “rush the passage of the bill.”
But he had insisted that the green chamber lacked the “moral latitude to interrogate him over his claim.”
Represented by a legal practitioner, Tochukwu Uhazurike, Ugochinyere had argued: “In line with the principles of natural justice, the speaker cannot be a judge in his own case.” The panel chair, however, insisted that it behoves on Ugochinyere to appear before the committee to clear himself.
He asserted that they would not allow any lawyer or legal representative to speak to them on Ugochinyere’s behalf, insisting that the man who alleged must come forward to prove his allegation.