FG to Probe Dogara, Others for Budget Padding, Diversion of Funds
The federal government has expressed its readiness to investigate claims of abuse of allocations for constituency projects by legislators in connivance with staff of its ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
A raging controversy involving House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara continued over the weekend with erstwhile appropriations committee chairman, Abdulmumuni Jibrin, making more allegations of the speaker’s involvement in the alteration of the 2016 budget.
Another lawmaker, Muhammadu Faruk also granted an interview confirming that the 2016 budget was padded with huge sums diverted in the guise of allocations for constituency projects.
On Sunday, the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Mr Malami Abubakar (SAN) told newsmen that the lawmakers and conniving members of the executive arm of government will be investigated.
Malami stated that the current administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari was opposed to the diversion of funds allocated to constituency projects and would extend its probe to related cases recorded over the years under past administrations.
The AGF added that the government would “take action” based on the probe outcome to ensure the blocking of fraudulent leakages.
He said: “We will investigate the executive and legislative conspiracy as it relates to constituency projects with a view to measuring the art of execution of the padded projects over the years.
“In so doing, we will learn our lessons in the budget and its implementation as a law with the aim to prosecute infractions and block leakages inherent in the padding process.
“Action must naturally be taken in the interest of the nation for efficient utilisation of our commonwealth and blocking of fraudulent leakages.”
According to the Nation, another source within the presidency privy to the recent meeting between President Buhari and Speaker Dogara stated that the president was in no way ready to shield the speaker from the imminent probe.
The source stated that the federal government would resist the pressure to dump the investigation of Jibrin’s petition against Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuff Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and others, for the alleged padding.
“Some people no doubt are seeking political solution to the padding palaver but I think the government will want the law to take its course.
“The way the Speaker spoke at the Presidential Villa on Friday suggested that a political compromise was in the offing. But President Buhari made no commitment at all,” the source said.
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