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REVEALED: 2016 budget padding allegation against Dogara was settled as APC “family affair”

THE budget padding allegation against Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, in 2016, was actually confirmed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), but no charges were brought against him; the matter was settled as an APC “family affair”.

This was revealed by Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), during an interview published by the Punch on Thursday.

President Muhammadu Buhari had campaigned vigorously ahead of 2015 election that he would fight corruption before it killed Nigeria, but evidences of glaring corrupt practices by his party men have invalidated that claim.

Abdulmumin Jibrin, former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, had alleged that Dogara and four other principal officers of the House had inserted several budgets worth hundreds of billions of naira into the 2016 budget.

Jibrin wrote a petition to the presidency as well as anti-corruption agencies, insisting that he had evidences to prove his allegation against Dogara, but nothing was done. Instead, Jibrin was suspended from the House for 180 legislative days. He ended up spending 16 months out of office.

Narrating the event, Falana said: “In 2016, Honourable Abdulmumini Jibrin, the then Chairman of House of Committee on Appropriation, blew the whistle when he petitioned the EFCC to the effect that the budget had been padded to the tune of N100 billions.

“The House placed him on suspension for 180 legislative days. The allegations were investigated and confirmed by the EFCC but it was settled like a “family affair” of the APC.

“The House spent public funds to fight the legislator from the high court to the Supreme Court and back to the high court. The legal battle lasted two years before his illegal suspension was set aside.”




     

     

    Indeed, Jibrin’s suspension from the House was declared null and void by justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court Abuja, 18 months after he was suspended and two months after he was recalled. The court ordered that all Jibrin’s outstanding salaries and allowances be paid to him.

    Falana recalled that President Buhari had promised to look into the budget padding allegation but nothing has happened till date.

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    “The President promised to sanction the public officers who were indicted for the criminal padding of the budget. Did the President sanction any of the criminal suspects?” Falana asked.

    “It is such unprecedented official impunity permitted by the President that has encouraged the National Assembly to continue the illegality of rewriting and jerking up the budget without cash or revenue to back it up.”

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