Sagay Panel begins probe into budget padding, meets Jibrin
The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, led by Prof. Itse Sagay, on Wednesday, said it had begun “meeting” on the documents submitted to it on the budget padding scandal by leaders of the House of Representatives.
The Executive Secretary of PACAC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, said this after a meeting the presidential panel held in Abuja with a former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, who had submitted some documents to PACAC.
Owasanoye confirmed that after the meeting with Jibrin that the committee had started considering the petitioner’s submissions and documents.
“What I can tell you now is that we are still meeting on the issue. It is difficult to tell you the outcome or what line of action we are taking next. It will be pre-emptive to say anything at this stage,” Owasanoye said.
Jibrin emerged from the meeting which took place at the secretariat of the PACAC at the Phase 1 of the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, at about 2.49pm on Wednesday, renewing his call for the removal of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers, over the budget padding scam rocking the lower legislative chamber.
Jibrin, who was sacked as the House committee chairman on appropriation for allegedly “abusing” the 2016 budget, had earlier petitioned PACAC, the police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, accusing Dogara, the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, of padding the budget by over N40bn.
Jibrin met with members of PACAC for about four hours on Wednesday following an invitation by the committee.
Fielding questions from journalists after meeting with PACAC members, Jibrin described his deliberations with the committee members as fruitful.
He insisted that Dogara and others had been shown to be corrupt and had lost the moral right to remain in office.
He said, “Yes, we still stand by our position, given the gravity of the allegations against the Speaker, Dogara, Lasun, Ado-Doguwa and Leo Ogor, and the fact that they have not responded to any of the allegations till date.
“Some of these allegations are specific allegations that it will be hard for anybody to deny. We had expected that they should do the honourable thing by resigning and submitting themselves to investigation.
“Of course, the Leader of the House (Femi Gbajabiamila) has led by example; he has submitted himself to the police. But the most important thing is that that position has not changed.
“I want Nigerians to understand that the whole thing is not only about Dogara; it is about changing the system, it is about reforming the system of the House of Representatives.
“I have done my own part of it. I have exposed corruption; I’ve submitted petitions to the anti-corruption agencies and within what is in my control and the control of other members of the National Assembly that believe in this cause, we’ll continue to do everything that we can to ensure that justice is served on Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Chief Whip Ado-Doguwa and of course, the House Minority Leader, Leo Ogor.”
Responding to allegations that he owned some posh properties in choice places offshore, he challenged any member of the House of Representatives, with evidence of any crime against him, to personally sign a petition and send same to the anti-graft agencies as he had done against Dogara and others.
He said, “I have also said that anybody who has anything against me should forward it to the anti-graft agencies.
“So far, there is not any member of the House of Representatives that has signed a petition and submitted it to the anti-graft agencies against me.
“Then, additionally, I have written and submitted to the anti-graft agencies and pledged that I will stand as a witness against these corrupt members of the House of Representatives.
“But nobody has done that; no member has come out. All that you’ve seen in the media are proxies; they are using youth organisations here and there to peddle lies. No anti-corruption agency has invited me over any allegation. Not any, up to date. But I will readily submit myself for investigation if such need arises.’’
Jibrin, an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kano State, also said the recent twist to his allegation that 10 principal officers of the House had “embezzled” over N10bn allocated as “running costs” between 2003 and this year, was not meant to bring the House of Representatives down.
The officers accused by the lawmaker are Dogara, Lasun; House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila; Ado-Doguwa; Deputy Leader, Buba Jibril; Deputy Whip, Pally Iriase; Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor ;Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyeama; Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde; and Deputy Minority Whip, Binta Bello-Maigeri.
He challenged any of them with evidence of judicious use of the funds for the purpose they were meant for to come clean before the public.
“I have said come out to tell the country if you have used it judiciously, if you have not, you will face the law. That is the point. I don’t think anybody should drag the entire House into it.
“The only thing is that those who are corrupt will be flushed out and the institution will remain,” he added.
ENJOY FREE CONTENTS FROM US
IN YOUR EMAIL
Breaking News, Events, Music & More
Thank you for subscribing.
Something went wrong.