The House of Representatives on Tuesday, cleared three of its colleagues of allegations of sexual misconduct levelled against them by the erstwhile US ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. James Entwistle.
The lawmakers, Hon. Mark Terseer Gbillah, Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo and Hon. Samuel Ikon were alleged to have been involved in soliciting for sex while on an international visitor’s leadership program in Cleveland, Ohio, USA in April.
The House’s resolution to clear the accused of the allegations followed the adoption of the recommendations of the joint committee on ethics and privileges and foreign affairs, which investigated the allegations.
The committee noted “That Mohammed Garba Gololo, Mark Terseer Gbillah and Samuel Ikon are cleared of and exonerated of the allegations levelled against them by the United States Ambassador to Nigeria in his June 9, 2016 letter to the Rt. Hon. Speaker for want of evidence;
“That in the light of the foregoing, the Hon Minister of Foreign Affairs do engage with the United States Ambassador to Nigeria, with a view to finding a seamless resolution of the domestic fallout of this unfortunate incident as it relates to Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo, Hon. Mark Terseer Gbillah and Hon. Samuel Ikon;
“That the Ministry of Foreign affairs do write to remind the United States Embassy of the need to always adopt the official channel of communication in its dealings with any organ or institution of government.”
Chairman of the ethics and privileges committee, Hon. Ossai Ossai, while briefing the House, said that the ambassador had through the minister for foreign affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, taken responsibility for a letter dated June 9, 2016 and addressed to the Speaker, in which he stated that Hon. Mohammed Garba Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited for sex, while Hons. Mark Terser Gbillah and Samuel Ikon allegedly requested hotel parking attendants to assist them to solicit prostitutes.”
Ossai disclosed that there was no substantial evidence in form of CCTV/video footage of the scene, report of any form of investigation that may have indicted the accused person or written statements of the said housekeeper indicting the accused person.
“Although there was information that the alleged complainant-house keeper had declined to testify anywhere, in respect of the allegation, but assuming the complainant had declined to testify or commit herself to recorded evidence, the vital particulars of the crime such as complainant’s name, date and time of the crime should not have been suppressed as was done in this matter,” the committee chairman stated.
He submitted that: “It was well established that the accusation that Mohammed Garba Gololo allegedly grabbed a housekeeper in his hotel room and solicited for sex was not proved.
“It was also established that the accusation that Mark Terseer Gbillah and Samuel Ikon allegedly requested hotel parking attendants to assist them to solicit prostitutes was equally not proved.
“That the withdrawal and revocation of the travel visas of the accused members on June 15, 2016, was misconceived and a manifest error of a conclusion of guilt.
“The possibility of excluding the National Assembly from future participation in the international visitors leadership programme was established as most likely, which is in itself an indictment of guilt on the institution.”
LEADERSHIP recalls that on June 16, 2016, the news broke from a letter written by the former US ambassador to Speaker Yakubu Dogara about the alleged misconduct of the three lawmakers while in the US.