Nominated Senator Gloria Orwoba has been suspended from the Senate and Parliament for six months and is expected to offer a formal apology, before being reinstated in office after serving time off.
Her suspension ensued following a report by the Powers and Privileges Committee of the Senate tabled for debate on Wednesday, September 20. Senator Orwoba was summoned to defend herself but failed to show up. The Senate, however, went ahead to suspend her by a majority vote in the House.
Among the counts faced by Orwoba was making unsubstantiated allegations through messages on the Senate business WhatsApp group. The allegations included instances of pursuit of sexual favours in parliament.
Furthermore, she was accused of making allegations of favouritism and discrimination on the Senate WhatsApp group and at a press conference. She then claimed the existence of corruption in the Senate without substantiating it.
“Having accorded the Senator an opportunity to be heard, the Senator declined to participate in the inquiry by the committee on Powers and Privileges and hence the committee found the charges to stand,” the report read.
Since there was no further defence offered, the Senate didn’t find any evidence on the contrary to refute the charge against the senator. She was also charged with disrespecting fellow senators by publishing disrespectful information.
She will not attend senate plenary and committee sessions and will consequently forgo all the allowances. Furthermore, she has been barred from local and foreign travel.
Could Lose Her Senate Seat
Former Senator Billow Kerrow mentioned that Gloria Orwoba would most likely lose her position during the suspension.
“This is the harshest I have seen. I have not seen a ruling of a speaker in so many decades where a member of parliament has been suspended for six months. Perhaps it was the gravity of the matter,” Kerrow said.
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According to the constitution, standing orders provide that if one misses eight sittings consecutively without a speaker’s permission, one can lose their seat. If the senate and parliament host more than eight sessions during the six months of the suspension, she could lose her seat.
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