Home News Budget Padding: Obasanjo Calls for Probe of Lawmakers

Budget Padding: Obasanjo Calls for Probe of Lawmakers

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called for an investigation of an alleged padding of the 2016 budget now rocking the leadership of the House of Representatives.

Obasanjo made the call on Monday when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa.

He said what is coming out of the House at present has confirmed his earlier position that the National Assembly is made up of corrupt persons.

“If you say I have said it before and people did not believe me. You would be correct. What has come out of the House has now confirmed what I said in the past,” he said.

The former president urged President Buhari to be careful with the lawmakers.

Former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin, has alleged that House Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his Deputy, Yusuf Lasun, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and Chief Whip had padded the 2016 budget heavily.

Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, an NGO, has also called for an independent investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission into the alleged N40 billion 2016 Budget padding by the National Assembly.

This was contained in a statement signed by SERAP’s Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, on Sunday.
Mumuni urged the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to allow the anti-graft agencies investigate the allegations of the budget padding by the leadership of the National Assembly for the House to save its name.

He specifically advised the Speaker to allow the EFCC and the ICPC conduct an effective and independent investigation into the allegation.

The executive director said the leadership of the House was alleged to have padded the 2016 budget to the tune of N40 billion.

The statement said: “SERAP’s call follows allegations by the immediate past Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmunin Jibrin, that the Speaker and three other principal officers of the House attempted to approve N40 billion out of N100 billion approved for members for constituency projects.

“Jibrin said he has also been victimised for refusing to support immunity for presiding officers.
“Given the seriousness and gravity of the allegations against the leadership of the House, any investigation by the House would not be enough as this would not meet the threshold of an effective, transparent and independent investigation.

“Nigerians will not have confidence in the House investigating itself in this case.
“The Speaker must now move swiftly to refer the allegations to the EFCC and the ICPC to allow for a swift, transparent, effective and independent investigation in order to contain the damage that is already done.

“There must be full accountability for any leader or member of the House found to be responsible.
“These allegations also raise numerous questions about the need for greater level of transparency and accountability in the National Assembly such as telling Nigerians the salaries and allowances of Senators and members of the House.

“Public auditing of spending by the National Assembly and why several concluded reports on allegations of corruption that have been investigated by the National Assembly remain shrouded in secrecy and skewed to favour suspected corrupt officers.”

Besides, Mumuni enjoined the leadership of the House to publicly commit that it would not promote constitutional amendments on immunity for its principal officers..

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