Sen. Marafa Defiant, Calls Members Of Senate C’ttee On Ethics “Liars, Undistinguished”

Senator-Kabir-MarafaThe senator representing Zamfara Central on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Kabiru Marafa, has denied shunning the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions asked to probe him for allegedly granting interviews that bring the Red Chamber to disrepute.
Two senators, Isah Misau (APC-Bauchi Central) and Matthew Urhoghide (PDP-Edo South), brought complaints against Sen. Marafa, saying he had in a February 7 Punch publication, demeaned the Senate.
The Senate referred the complaints to its Committee on Ethics. But Mr. Marafa was nowhere to be seen at the hearing of the Samuel Anyanwu-led committee Monday.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, Marafa, who is the most outspoken critic of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, accused his colleagues of lying against him just as he maintained that he did not receive an invitation to appear before the committee on Monday.
He, however, acknowledged receiving an earlier later last week Tuesday inviting him to a hearing of the committee scheduled for Thursday of same week, but that he responded on his inability to make it to the hearing on that date.
He said he informed the committee of his availability any day of this week.
“Yes I got the text from the clerk to the committee but replied I would not be able to attend the meeting because I was in Kaduna commiserating with my brother and friend spanning over 30 years, Senator Hunkuyi who lost his mother”, Mr. Marafa said.
“I also called my office to ask my SA (Senior Legislative Assistant) to formally reply the invitation letter; explain why I would not attend the meeting and ask for another date”.
In the letter – a copy of which was seen by the newspaper – signed by Mr. Marafa’s assistant, Abubakar Ahmed, and dated February 17, the embattled senator explained that he could not attend the meeting because he “is currently out of town to condole with Senator Suleiman Othman Hunkuyi, who lost his mother yesterday (Feb. 16). He is therefore unavailable for the hearing scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday 18th February 2015”.
“He is however expected back in Abuja on Saturday, and is available for the hearing fixed for any date next week, please”, Mr. Marafa’s letter added.
As far as the hearing held on Monday was concerned, there was no invitation, Mr. Marafa said, challenging the committee to publicize “invitation letter asking me to appear before the committee on Monday, apart from the first one last week which I replied and formally gave reason why I would not attend”.
“The behaviour of committee members is very undistinguished; they caused the Senate embarrassment by concocting lies against one of their own.
“That’s why I went to plenary today to see how they will pass judgment without hearing me. I deserve to be heard. Even the Senate President who is facing criminal charges is given right to defend himself.
“They can’t face me; they are afraid. They know the illegalities they have committed. I read the said interview again and I wish to stand by everything I said. I am defending the institution of the Senate”, Mr. Marafa said.
He added that even though his lawyers asked him not to attend the hearing because he was challenging the legality of the committees in court, he defied the legal advice on two grounds:
“One, I have respect for the Senate institution to which I belong; so, I want to defend myself and save the Senate from embarrassment. Two, I have respect for the committee because I served in that committee for four years”.
On why he refused to convene a budget defense hearing of his committee on National Population Commission, Marafa said his decision was based on the ‘logic’ of the Senate spokesperson, Aliyu Sabi.
According to him, when he questioned the legality of the committees raised from 57 to 65 “in violation of Senate Standing Orders”, Mr. Sabi told him that “by approving votes and proceedings of the day, the list of the committees was read, the whole Senate had approved the increment”.
“So, when the budget bill was read for the first and second time, we passed votes and proceedings of those days.
“Following same logic as established by the Senate official spokesperson, it follows that we have passed the budget.
“Then, why do we have to invite the MDAs again? Why do I have to waste taxpayers’ money on hearing again? Then, why is it that it is after Supreme Court judgment on Saraki they are saying they can’t pass budget? You journalists, should ask questions”, the senator said.


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