The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has denied inducing members of House of Representatives with $10million for the passage of the controversial ‘Infectious Diseases Control Bill 2020’.
Following controversies generated by the speed at which the bill passed the first and second reading after its introduction by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, the allegation of the inducement had been flying around.
Reacting to this, the House had, after a resolution on a motion of Personal Explanation by the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, set up an investigative panel headed by Henry Nwawuba to investigate the allegation and expose the people behind the alleged report.
However, in a letter dated May 14th, signed by the Director, Nigeria Country Office of the foundation, Paulin Basinga, it was stated that the Foundation had nothing to do with any alleged financial inducement to the lawmakers regarding the said Bill or any other thing.
In a copy of the letter obtained by our reporter on Monday, the Foundation said it; “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,” it added. “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”, the letter read in parts.
The letter was addressed to the chairman of the Adhoc Committee set up for the investigation of the allegation and copied to the Speaker, House of Representatives. The House disclosed on Sunday that it will continue with the process of passing the bill. It said the order given by an Abuja Federal High Court does not stop the process for the passage of the proposed bill.
In a statement by its Spokesperson, Benjamin Okezie Kalu, it expressed dismay over the alleged erroneous reports on the matter by some media outfits. According to the statement, some of the reports allegedly misinterpreted the decision of the court in suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/463/2020 on 13th May 2020.