Jibrin Releases Proof Of Evidence On Allegations Of Budget Fraud
PROOF OF EVIDENCE ON ALLEGATIONS OF BUDGET FRAUD, CORRUPTION AND ABUSE OF OFFICE AND PUBLIC TRUST
Gentlemen of the press, I invite you here today to share with you some of the documents to support the allegations I leveled against Speaker Dogara and others. As a popular legal maxim observes, the onus of proof lies with the plaintiff or accuser.
As in several instances in the past, I am compelled to share these documents with the press today as a last resort because Speaker Dogara has continued to deny me the opportunity to present my case before my colleagues.
All my attempts in the past few months to be given the floor to brief my colleagues was frustrated by Speaker Dogara and his cabal that hold the House at the jugular.
Our resumption from recess provided an opportunity for me to brief my colleagues but the Speaker once again, in a show of shame, blocked me and used all sort of legislative antics to refer me to Committee on Ethics and Privileges for investigation on breaches of privileges of members and misconduct.
He had no qualms referring the matter to the Ethics Committee despite being aware that some of the members were part of those that wore the iStandWithDogara mufflers during plenary on Wednesday the 21st and the Chairman of the Ethics and privileges Committee has made several public statements acted in such a way and manner that his ability to the impartial in the matter is in doubt. In one of such statements, he told premium times that Iam wrong to say padding is an offense.
I have responded to the letter of invitation from the Chairman Committee on Ethics and Privileges, I have also written Speaker Dogara expressing my opinion and position on the matter and Mr Femi Falana SAN has written the Speaker that the issue of my suspension is already a matter in court. I have spoken extensively on these letters and my position is in the public domain.
I will only make emphasis on the fact that the privilege of a member does not accord him or her immunity to being exposed if involved in corrupt practices, and exposing budget fraud and corruption can never amount to misconduct.
Let me draw your attention to the decision of the Court of Appeal in PETER OBI vs ANAMBRA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, in which the Court of Appeal made a decision on the powers of the House Committee on Ethics. The decision reads in part “That, the power enshrined in the House rules has contradicted the provision of section 4(8) of the 1999 Constitution (as ammended).”
Therefore, the House Rules for Ethics Committee shall hold in abeyance. However, even if the House of Representative decides to investigate the allegations, it must be done in collaboration with the police and anti-graft agencies who have the constitutional powers of investigation into allegations that are criminal in nature.
As it stands today, the House of Representatives with Speaker Dogara on seat, has lost the moral grounds to discharge its functions since it has failed to deal with such grievous allegations decisively and in a transparent matter. I will urge the Senate to rely on the doctrine of necessity to continue to discharge the duties of the National Assembly until such a time that the House of Representatives would have concluded the process of internal cleansing.
We all know that the Speaker blackmailed members to get support because of abundance of systemic corruption (which people like Speaker Dogara instituted) in the House that makes many members vulnerable and dependent. His plan is to ensure everybody goes down with him. That is why it is very pertinent to conduct extensive background checks on members. With a proper background check, some members would never have found their way into the House of Representatives in the first place.
Predictably, in his speech, Mr Speaker tried to drag the entire House into the matter to give the impression that the entire House is the accused. I wish to state for the umpteenth time that the allegations I raised were against the quartet of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and few other members NOT the Honourable House as an institution.
You will recall that Mr Speaker had tried in vain in the past to drag other institutions and even individuals outside the House into this matter. It will be tragic if the House condones a situation where some few corrupt members will commit offense, and then use the institution of the House as a shield to evade justice. This is the script Speaker Dogara is trying to implement.
In my letter to all Hon Members ahead of resumption, I made some recommendations which I strongly believe that if implemented, it will go a long way in resolving the crisis and provide the needed ventilation for the House to commence the process of internal reforms and self-cleansing to repair its battered image and restore the trust of Nigerians in the House.
The recommendations include:
1-The House should direct Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor to step down immediately to allow for a free and fair investigation without interference as they cannot be judges in their own matters. This will ensure that the needed sanity and conducive atmosphere that will free the House from an impending suffocation returns to facilitate the commencement of legislative work with credibility.
2-To nominate a Speaker Pro Tempore to take over as Presiding Officer with immediate effect.
3-The Speaker Pro Tempore should constitute an Adhoc Committee to investigate these allegations in collaboration with the on-going external investigation by the anti-graft agencies. This has become necessary because from some public and private comments made by the incumbent Chairman of the Ethics and Privilege Committee, he has become an interested party in the matter and his ability to be impartial is in doubt. Also some of the members, including myself, who sit as members of the committee are interested party in the matter.
4-To discuss with the Executive Arm and in the spirit of justice, fairness and equity and return the N100billion constituency project component of the budget under any of our laws so that all stolen funds, particularly the 40billion naira, can be returned and equitably distributed to all constituencies. This is possible especially that the 2016 budget will run until May 2017.
5- I am offering to identify all the fraudulent insertions by Speaker Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa, Ogor and others running into billions in the budget so that they can be removed. We have different laws under which that can be done. This will salvage the image of the House and reduce the financial pressure on the budget in the face of the current revenue challenges
6-Immediate implementation of internal reform of the activities of the House to include management of our finances, budget process, transparency and implementation of e-parliament among others. I will share with you a comprehensive memo containing suggestions I have made in this regard.
7- The House should re visit the House rule to expunge all draconian clauses inserted by Speaker Dogara which gives him too much powers and reduced members to what look like the South African apartheid regime of the 60s. In any case, the House rule is at present a matter of litigation. The Speaker even entered appearance but went ahead to produce and distribute the “new” House rules.
I must confess that Iam a product of the establishment but I have never been comfortable and my fervent desire is always to get a way out of the logjam.
Yes, I have been in the House for 5 years, held arguably the two most important committees simultaneously — Finance and Appropriation. I have seen the country and specifically the House from bottom to top. I stand by my position that there are monumental individual and systemic corruption in the House. I have decided to embrace a new life of activism to push for reforms and expose corruption in the House and beyond. This is my destiny and there is no going back. The establishment can decide to kick me out, I care less. I have always wanted to have such a trigger that will give me the opportunity to do this. As things continue to unveil, my confidence and conviction keep increasing that I must tread this noble path.
I have come to an incontrovertible conclusion that this is the work of God. I am convinced that God has finally answered the prayers of Nigerians for corruption in high places, especially the House of Representatives to be exposed. I see myself as someone divinely chosen to lead the crusade to expose and wipe out corruption in the House. I wouldn’t have been this equipped to deal with these issues if I had no inside knowledge and the privilege to be part of the system. I know what I am saying are matters of fact and Speaker Dogara and his small corrupt cabal know very well that all I am saying is true.
At this juncture, I must confess that I am not an angel. I am imperfect and fallible, which are peculiar human traits. I therefore wish to apologize to Nigerians where I have erred in the past. I have fully repented and I will make it up for the country by staying on course, taking the personal risk at ensuring that I continue to expose corruption and corrupt persons in the House and beyond. This does not mean in anyway that I am asking for immunity against investigation and prosecution if allegations are brought against me. I am ready to go to jail if found guilty of any offense. I have stated repeatedly that in the 5 years that I have been in the House, I have never abused my office nor corruptly enriched myself.
It is a known fact that I am a very blunt person by nature. I don’t know how to pretend. I don’t do eye service neither will I ever be a sycophant. I don’t give returns. I just do my job faithfully with dedication. My offense in the House has always been my assertiveness and independent disposition and insisting that we do the right thing at all times and expose corruption. I did my job diligently and transparently.
I say these because there has been a heavy, well-orchestrated and paid campaign of calumny against me by Speaker Yakubu Dogara. The objective is to divert attention from the allegations I raised against him and focus on damaging my reputation with all sorts of blackmail so that whatever I have said or will continue to say will suffer credibility problem. They have accused me of standing trial in a 17billion naira money laundering case, I am not standing trial on any case whatsoever before the EFCC. They accused me of being involved in what they termed 481million naira contract splitting at the refugee commission, it has again turned out a huge lie and the same discredited organisation that they used to write the petition went on to tender apology.
Recently, they accused me of ownership of an account with ING Bank UK with balance of £1.5 million and ownership of property at 453 Crankbrook Road, IIford Essex IG2 6EW. This was carefully concocted with a fake statement of account that was well publicized in the media. Trust Nigerian journalists, they went down to work and the deeds were released, showing I am not the owner and the bank also confirmed that it is fake. I have reported the matter to the Inspector General of Police and have taken the necessary legal steps to seek redress in court.
Finally, they moved on to what is probably their last resort since they could not find anything against me within or outside the House. They circulated in the media that I am under the influence of drugs, specifically cocaine. As politicians, we throw such mud at ourselves but since I will continue to expose issues of corruption that will continue to shock Nigerians, it became important for the public to know that I am not under the influence of any kind of drugs. I don’t drink alcohol nor do I even smoke cigarettes. I am a teetotal gentleman, a sweet tooth who loves juice and have bad addiction for chocolates.
I have submitted myself to two separate tests including one with the credible path care, who took my samples and the results for all the various kinds of hard drugs including cocaine came out negative.
I have also written the Chief Medical Director of the National Hospital to give me a date and time in view of my position as a senior public officer and the national importance of the matter, to take my samples at the national hospital, conduct another round of tests and make the result public. I have always been a courageous, extroverted and hyperactive and outspoken person all my life. I hate lies and injustice.
It is note worthy that all these allegations are made using faceless groups or discredited organisations and individuals. No member of the House has signed any allegation against me the way I have personally signed allegations against the Speaker and few others.
For those who want to continue to attack the messenger should have a rethink. They should for once concentrate on the grievous allegations I have raised against the number 4 citizen of our country and some principal officers. This is a rare opportunity for our country to deal decisively with corruption in high places. We have a sitting member who has raised allegations, cooperating with the security and anti corruption agencies and willing to stand as witness throughout the process of investigation and prosecution. We must not let this opportunity slip away.
I am pleading with my honourable colleagues to join hands in this patriotic task of salvaging our country from the chronic danger and destructive element of corruption. Those who commit offense must be punished. The institution of the House shall stand beyond any individual! How we handle this matter is a litmus test for the House of Representatives.
I have been working closely with some members and groups in the House and In fact I will be providing comprehensive briefing to the Transparency Group tomorrow. Let me emphasize for the umpteenth times that even if these recommendations are rejected and members chose to have corrupt persons at the helm of affairs of the House, I shall continue my crusade to ensure that justice is served on Speaker Dogara and others, pursue internal reforms in the House and continue with a wider anti-corruption crusade in the House and beyond — even if I am alone.
In the next few days, Hon Members will have to decide if they StandWithDogara or StandWithNigeria. I will take on the House as a whole if it becomes the last option to take back the House of Representatives for the Nigerian people.
If we can not deal decisively with allegations of corruption within the House and ensure that justice is served irrespective of who is involved, we will lose the moral ground to deal with corruption outside the House, a task constituting an important part of our responsibility. It will also create a huge impediment to discharging our functions. We must not lead ourselves into such destructive trap. Our constituents who gave us the mandate are watching, Nigerians are watching and the world is watching!
At this juncture, I will take you through the allegations and show you the proof of evidence.
Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin PhD MBA
Kiru-Bebeji Federal Constituency
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