The immediate past Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Friday stormed the headquarters of the Department of State Services, Abuja, to seek the arrest of the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara for his role in the alleged budget padding.
In a tweet on his official Twitter handle, Jibrin said he was at the DSS headquarters as of 7.30pm on Friday to call for the arrest of Dogara and other members involved in the padding.
He wrote, “Just arrived SSS HQ. The journey to get Speaker Dogara and other members of the corrupt group has begun!”
Jibrin has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission regarding the alleged padding.
Sources said the EFCC had acknowledged receipt of the petition.
A source at the EFCC said, “We have just received a petition from Jibrin. We will definitely work on it.”
This is just as the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), said the EFCC would investigate lawmakers involved in the alleged budget padding.
Sagay told Saturday PUNCH in an interview on Friday that it was possible that the level of corruption in the National Assembly was much higher than most Nigerians knew.
He said the recent revelations and allegations were just a tip of the iceberg.
Sagay said, “The whole saga reveals the degree of corruption in the country is mind-boggling. There is no exception in any sector of Nigeria. It is a pandemic disease that has turned the country rotten from top to bottom. So, it is very disturbing.
“As for investigation, the matter will be taken to the EFCC and the EFCC will take it up. I don’t think the whole House should be investigated. We will have to start from somewhere and that is, if the House leadership or Jibrin takes it to the EFCC and the whole thing will start to unravel. So, we should brace ourselves for more shocks. I don’t know whether Nigeria can take more shocks, but we should brace ourselves.”
The senior advocate said he believed that budget padding had been going on for years.
Sagay said the only reason why the fraud was being exposed was because of the friction between Jibrin and key members of the House.
He added, “What I suspect is that this is not the first time. It has been going on for a long time, but it looks as if it is because things fell apart between them that everyone is exposing one another. Budget padding was going on as usual when they were getting along so, I don’t think it is anything new.
“It is just that it was too audacious this time when Jibrin allegedly took away N60bn meant for Calabar-Lagos Railway and simply split it among projects in his own constituency and the constituencies of his friends. They thought they would get away with it, but fate caught up with them. So, the law will take its course.”
Sagay said budget padding was an economic and financial crime as it had to do with the inflation of figures in the budget and the diversion of money meant for the generality of Nigerians.
He said, “It is fraud, stealing and is a criminal offence. It is a financial and economic crime and the EFCC will look into it.”
When contacted Special Adviser to the Attorney General of Federation and the Minister of Justice on Media and Publicity, Mr. Slihu Isah, said he was not aware of any directive issued by his boss for the investigation of the budget padding scam.
Another source said, while the minister had shown interest in the case, he had yet to decide on exact step to take.
A national newspaper (not The PUNCH) had on Friday reported that the AGF had set up a panel to investigate allegations of padding in the National Assembly and ministries.
According to the report, the panel is headed by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police.
Culled from Punch