If the principal officers of the House of Representatives, who were accused of padding the 2015 budget think the matter has gone away, they must be mistaken. The budget padding allegation was jerked to the foe on Tuesday as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) grilled the whistle-blower former House Committee on Appropriations chairman Abdulmumin Jibrin for five hours over the alleged N284billion budget padding.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY gathered that to make matters worse for the accused persons, Jibrin released fresh evidence to the EFCC and sources say they are “startling”.
Jibrin arrived at the EFCC Headquarters around 11am for the interrogation and left at 4pm.
About 50 members of the House, including four principal officers would be quizzed by the interrogators as they dig to get to the bottom of the matter.
The principal officers include Speaker Yakubu Dogara; Deputy Speaker Lasun Yusuf; Minority Leader Leo Ogor; and House Whip Alhassan Doguwa. Mr. Ogor is slated to appear on Friday.
Mr. Jibrin had in July 29, 2016 through his lawyers, Hammart and Company, Doka Chambers, and Law Bond Solicitors, alleging historic budget padding by the principal characters in the House.
But a source said that despite being the petitioner, the EFCC feels that Jibrin himself also has a case to answer. He said: “Our detectives interrogated Jibrin for about five hours on his petition. He cooperated with our team by buttressing his allegations with documents. He gave detectives fresh insights into the padding of the budget leading to more startling revelations. From the interesting session, this budget padding is deeper than we tought.
“We are going to look into fresh clues provided by Jibrin who also has questions to answer on some constituency projects. I think more than two-thirds of members of the House were implicated in the budget padding. We will however restrict ourselves to 50 peculiar suspects.”
Some of the allegations against the principal officers of the House in the budget padding allegation are: inclusion of N20billion wasteful projects by House leaders, unilateral diversion of N40billion, out of the N100billion allocated for constituency projects, by some House leaders and distribution of same to themselves, that Chairmen of about 10 of the 96 standing committees of the House inserted over 2,000 projects worth about N284billion, and the creation of a strange line item in the Service Wide Vote to allow for a N20billion insertion into the budget under the name of the National Assembly.