Former Deputy Speaker of the Edo State House of Assembly, Hon Elisabeth Ativie, has told the new leadership of the Assembly that she has sold one of the official vehicles, a Lexus SUV 2016 model, given to her when she was Speaker.
Hon Ativie served as Speaker for 84 days after which she stepped down for Justin Okonoboh to emerge as Speaker for the purpose of balance of power among the three Senatorial districts.
She was made Deputy Speaker to Okonoboh but both of them were impeached by 16 lawmakers last Monday
In a letter dated August 16 and signed by the Clerk of the Assembly, James Omoataman, Hon Ativie was asked to return the official vehicles allocated to her as a Deputy Speaker.
The letter listed the vehicles to include one Prado Jeep, two Hilux vans, and one Lexus Jeep 2016 model.
In her response through her Counsel, Olayiwola Afolabi, Hon Ativie said she has registered the vehicles in her name and that she acted as bonafide owner of the vehicles to sell one of them, adding that the vehicles were permanently given to her by former Governor Adams Oshiomhole as compensation for the sacrifices she made to step down for Okonoboh.
She therefore urged the Clerk of the Assembly to advice the House leadership properly as the vehicles were no longer official vehicles of the Edo State House of Assembly.
She quoted part of the letter written by the former governor to read:
“I wish to convey my compliments and recall the discussion between the leadership of the Edo State House of Assembly and the Executive branch on the geo -political stability of Edo State and the need to engender equity, fairness and sense of belonging amongst all sections and citizens of our dear state.
“Given the exceptional circumstances surrounding the issues and in an explicit acknowledgement of the enormous sacrifices you were required to make for the peace, security, stability and well-being of our beloved state, the official vehicles attached to the office of the Speaker are now yours”
However, in response to Ativie’s letter, the assembly declared that her claim that the vehicles were given to her by the former governor of the state was untrue as there was no evidence to show that the former governor took such decision.
Omoataman said the House had scrutinised the allocation letter which she claimed conveyed approval to her to retain the vehicles.
“We have compared the signature of the esteem former governor on the said letter and found it is not genuine and we hope your client is aware of the consequences of parading such document.
“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 the 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.”
He gave the ex-deputy speaker a deadline of two days, from the date of receipt of the letter within which to comply with the demands of the house.
“Failure to do so will attract the necessary legal action, both civil and criminal against your client,” it stated.