Budget padding: Reps to refer Jibrin to EFCC

By The Citizen
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The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas says ex-Chairman of Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin will be referred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for investigation

Namdas said Jibrin was relieved of his position for abuse of the budgetary process.

He said 'the leadership is also in receipt of complaints about his activities as Chairman of Finance Committee in the 7th Assembly, which had potentials to embarrass the House.

'Investigations found that from 2011 - 2015, Jibrin domiciled with Hadejia - Jama'are River Basin Authority and few other MDAs, some of the allocations meant for his former Finance Committee members.

'He was alleged to have aided the use of front companies that collected funds without executing most of the projects.

'The projects have been compiled and will be referred to the anti-graft agencies to establish why the projects were fully paid for and not executed.

'Who collected the funds and why has Jibrin not raised any alarm about the non-execution of the projects even now?'

According to Namdas, Jibrin had initially inflated the 2016 Budget by adding about N250 billion to the total figure as submitted by Mr President.

'This, the NASS leadership outrightly rejected as a form of financial recklessness and inability to appreciate the dwindling resources available to government necessitating that we act prudently.

The House spokesman noted that 'the leadership of both chambers, including the appropriations and finance committees are normally and traditionally allocated certain percentages.

'They are allocated certain percentages of these funds, for inclusion in the appropriation bill for projects.

'The remaining is distributed to members of the National Assembly for inclusion of their preferred projects in the budget. This has also been the established tradition over the years.

'For the avoidance of doubt, the 8th House of Representatives under the leadership of Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has not deviated from established practices, precedents and traditions in this matter.''

Namdas alleged that Jibrin, 'was in the habit of collating, warehousing and manipulating sensitive information to blackmail people sometimes apparently for pecuniary purposes.

'And by the virtue of his position as appropriations chairman, he meets with very high and senior public officers at all levels.

'The Speaker and the leadership were inundated with complaints by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), over harassment from the House Appropriations Chairman to engage in conduct and acts unbecoming of their offices.

'The leadership launched an internal investigation into these allegations and was largely satisfied that action had to be taken to remove him, in the interest of the integrity of the House.

'One clear example is the insertion of funds for the so called Muhammadu Buhari Film Village in his constituency in Kano State.

'This was without the consent or solicitation of Mr President. This has brought both Mr President and the government to disrepute.'

Namdas revealed that 'one of such is the numerous projects he claimed in a Channels TV interview in April 2016 to have sited in Mr President's home town of Daura, Katsina State.

This is without Mr President's solicitation or knowledge, in a desperate attempt to blackmail him as an answer and justification for allocation of N4.1 billion to his constituency when confronted by the interviewer.

'He did not stop there. Jibrin went about soliciting members to nominate projects for him to help them include in the budget.

'When called upon to defend his actions as appropriation's chairman, all he did was to be calling names of those members and the amount he helped include for them in the budget in an unsuccessful bid to silence them'.

Namdas said 'it was also discovered that Jibrin, discreetly and clandestinely allocated monies for projects that are not clearly defined in the budget for the purposes of exploiting the ambiguities for personal gains.'

The spokesman, therefore, challenged Jibrin to release the signed inputs of Mr Speaker and not pieces of paper that bears no acknowledged authorship.' - The News.