Budget padding: ‘Dogara, Jibrin, others guilty

Members of the Transparency Group in the House of Representatives said on Monday that despite the fact that all 10 principal officers had disowned the former Chairman, Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, those accused by Jibrin were as guilty as their accuser.

The ex-appropriation chairman had alleged that the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and three other principal officers ‘padded’ the 2016 budget.

The other three are the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun; the Chief Whip, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor.

All 10 principal officers had in a joint statement on Thursday last week, admitted that the sacking of Jibrin was a “collective decision” of the leadership to punish him for “abusing” the budget.

But, on Monday, the TG told The PUNCH that much as Dogara reserved the prerogative to appoint and fire a committee chairman, the sacking of Jibrin did not address the allegations he raised.

Rather, the TG observed that Dogara, Lasun, Ado-Doguwa and Ogor were “as guilty as Jibrin.”

The group said despite the position taken by the 10 principal officers, the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission should proceed with the investigation into the allegations.

A key member of the TG, Mr. Bashir Baballe, who spoke exclusively with The PUNCH, recalled that it was Lasun that chaired the committee set up by the National Assembly to review the first budget, which President Muhammadu Buhari refused to sign.

Baballe noted that the President had rejected Jibrin’s version of the budget for lacking details and was returned to the National Assembly.

He added, “Mr. President returned the first budget, which both Senator Danjuma Goje and Jibrin worked on as the joint chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriation.”