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BUDGET PADDING: Jibrin submits petition to ICPC, Police

By Kingsley Omonobi & Ben Agande
ABUJA—Embattled former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, yesterday, submitted a petition to the chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and allied matters Commission, ICPC, calling for the investigation of the speaker and three other principal officers for alleged illegal padding of the 2016 budget.

Abdulmumini Jibrin
Abdulmumini Jibrin

This came as Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said, yesterday, that allegations and counter-allegations by Jibrin and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called to question the integrity of the 2016 budget, saying the whole budgetary process must be cleaned up.

Vanguard gathered that Jibrin arrived the premises of the ICPC in a convoy of three cars and was ushered into the office of the chairman with whom he had a closed-door meeting for about 20 minutes.

Vanguard gathered that Abdulmumin was accompanied by about seven lawyers when he met with the chairman.

He told reporters after submitting the petition:  “I am here to submit a formal petition and give further clarification and insight on the allegation of corruption, abuse of trust of office by Mr Speaker, Yakubu Dogara; his deputy, Yusuf Lasun; the Whip of the House, Alhassan Dogwa; Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, and nine other members of the House who are also chairmen of different committees.

“We have submitted the petition, the chairman of the commission received us in person. We exchanged a couple of ideas on how to move forward. I hope to see a very quick commencement of investigations so that these corrupt set of Nigerians can be prosecuted in earnest and if found guilty, sent to jail immediately so that it will send a very powerful signal of the anti-corruption fight of this government.”

Meanwhile, journalists, who were at the headquarters of the EFCC, to follow up the petition by Jibrin to the commission against Dogara and others, were barred from the facility.

Earlier, the former appropriations committee chairman was at the  ICPC, and the Department of State Services, DSS, to file petitions against Dogara and others.

PDP calls for clean up of budgeting process.

Reacting to the budget padding issues, yesterday, PDP said allegations and counter-allegations made by Jibrin and Speaker of the House of Representatives had called to question the integrity of the 2016 budget, saying the whole budgetary process must be cleaned up.

The party in a statement issued in Abuja, yesterday, by the Director, New Media, Deji Adeyanju, said the entire “budget process has been a fiasco.”

“It is imperative to point out that at the onset President Buhari proposed a N6.08tr budget. This is the same figure as the budget passed by NASS.

‘’On the surface, this fact looks innocuous but is the foundation upon which the entire sham is founded.

“It is also worthy to note that reviews carried out by many Nigerians indicate that the budget as presented by the President was full of inflated figures & frivolous allocations.

“The Presidency then raised an alarm about insertions into the budget at the National Assembly.

‘’The Presidency further stated that Mr. President would not sign the budget until “it was cleaned up”. You will recall that this caused further delay in Mr President assenting to the budget.  This whole sham begs many questions:

“Is this the cleaned up version about which Hon. Jibrin speaks?  Why is Hon. Jibrin only just speaking now after being relieved of his post as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee? Would he have spoken up if he had not been relieved?

“Was Mr. President aware of that the budget he presented to NASS was “padded” by his ministers & presidential aides as Hon. Jibrin alleged in his interviews? How did the Presidency miss these “insertions” at NASS despite engaging in a clean up? Or did the Presidency allow them remain?

Are “insertions” into the budget by members of NASS illegal or do they constitute part of the oversight powers granted to legislators by the Constitution? Should members of NASS be allowed to make “insertions” into the budget? These & other questions require answers.

“It is more than a little depressing that as at today, we are still debating the integrity of Budget 2016 and not the percentages of performance.

“In 30 days, the APC-led FG is required by the Fiscal Responsibility Act to submit the Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, for the 2017 budget and the APC led NASS is required to commence the process of approving it.

“In the light of the current circumstance, we are hard pressed to see how this requirement will be fulfilled within the time frame required by law.

“Above all, we must realise that this presents an opportunity to reform the budgeting process to ensure that such a charade never occurs again.

“Hopefully, the APC will soon put its in-house squabbles behind it & pay attention to the task for which it was elected – governance,” he said.

 


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