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Budget Padding: Police To Comb Appropriation Office For Vital Documents

National-AssemblyFresh indications emerged on Saturday that the police would this week, liaise with the Department of State Services to allow the team of investigating officers led by an Assistant Inspector General of Police have access the secretariat of the Appropriation Committee of the House of Representatives.

The police panel is investigating allegations levelled against the leadership of the House of Representatives by a former Chairman of the House Committee on Appriopration, Abdulmumin Jibrin, that the 2016 budget was unnecessarily padded.
A top police source, who disclosed this to SUNDAY PUNCH in Abuja, said this was necessary in order to access documents and other data stored on the computers used for the budget preparation.

The police chief said, “We are making necessary arrangement anytime in the new week to request the Department of State Services to reopen the secretariat so that we could have access to data and other evidence that were being protected by its operatives.”
SUNDAY PUNCH also gathered that the police investigations into the budget padding allegations in the House of Representatives was being delayed with the non-release of the draft and final copies of the 2016 budget.
The police source said the panel was not giving up on the investigations, as it would write the DSS to enable it access the House Appriopration office, which had been sealed.

The panel had about two weeks ago requested copies of the budget so it could compare it with the versions that were submitted to it by Jibrin.
But the National Assembly Clerk, Mr. Mohammed Sani-Omolori, it was learnt, had yet to provide the documents which a source said was germane to the panel’s investigation.

The source said, “The panel needs the draft copies and the final version of the budget, but since it dispatched its request to the National Assembly clerk, nothing has been heard about it, and this of course, has slowed down the momentum of the probe. But we are still expecting the officials to send the documents.

“We are giving them time to respond because we know that NASS officials are also indirectly on recess because the lawmakers were on recess, but next week would be crucial. There are major steps that would be taken to move things forward in the investigation.”

Speakers, others yet to honour police invitation

None of the principal officers, including the Speaker, Yabubu Dogara; Deputy Speaker, Sulaiman Lasun, and the Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, had honoured the invitations by the police investigating team.

Both the Speaker’s office, Lasun, and Ogor failed to respond to inquiries on the matter.
The Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, asked for time to speak on the issue, but as of the time of filing this report, he had yet to do so. He also did not reply to a text message sent to his mobile phone.
The Chief Press Secretary to Lasun, Mr. Wole Oladimeji, also did not react to inquiries by Sunday PUNCH.
Ogor’s mobile phone rang out.

I‘ll honour police if invited — Ado-Doguwa
But Ado-Doguwa said he had yet to be invited and would honour the police invitation.
Ado-Doguwa added that there was no point “playing to the gallery” by submitting himself to the police, which had yet to invite him.
He said, “As a true democrat and a firm believer in the ‘rule of law,’ I would always respond and honour any constitutional invitation from any of our law enforcement or anti-graft agencies on any matter, if am invited. I am not above the law either.”



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