TheNigerianVoice Online Radio Center

EFCC probe on budget padding: SERAP asks Dogara, others to step aside

Source: pointblanknews.com

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open

letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives Mr Dogara Yakubu

requesting him and other principal officers “suspected to be involved in

the alleged budget padding to step aside pending the outcome of

investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and

other agencies.”
The letter dated 29 July 2016 and signed by SERAP executive director

Adetokunbo Mumuni states that, “Following confirmation received by SERAP

from the EFCC that it has taken up and looking into SERAP's petition to

the body on the allegations that the leadership of the House of

Representatives padded the 2016 budget to the tune of N481 billion, SERAP

is now writing to request you to immediately step aside from your position

as Speaker of the House of Representatives pending the out outcome of the

investigation.”
The letter reads in part: “We also urge you to ensure that other principal

officers of the House suspected to be involved in the alleged padding step

aside from their positions to allow for the investigation by the EFCC and

other agencies to go ahead unhindered.”
“SERAP has also reviewed several documents circulating on the internet on

the alleged budget padding and we believe that these documents establish a

prima-facie case of corruption, which deserves a thorough, transparent,

independent and effective investigation by the EFCC and other agencies.”

“In the circumstances, SERAP calls on you to demonstrate your

often-expressed commitment to transparency, accountability,

constitutionalism, democratic governance and the rule of law in Nigeria by

now stepping aside from your position as Speaker and to ensure that other

principal officers suspected to be involved in the budget padding do the

same, pending the outcome of the investigation already by the EFCC.”

“SERAP's call is entirely consistent with the constitution of Nigeria 1999

(as amended). As the supreme law of the land, all organs of government

including the National Assembly are obliged to perform their functions in

accordance with the constitution and other enabling laws.”

“SERAP agrees with the Constitutional Court of Uganda when it asserted in

Constitutional Petition No. 47 of 2011 Twinobusingye Severino vs Attorney

General that, 'In modern democracies, the term 'stepping aside' is now

generally taken as part of the responsibility of the holder of a public

office in discharging his or her duty of being accountable to the people.

Thus a culture has developed in modern democracies, Uganda inclusive,

whereby a Public officer whose conduct in a public office is being

questioned steps aside, on his or her own, to enable investigations to be

carried out without his or her influence.’”
“Indeed, SERAP believes that the necessity of being accountable to the

people, by anyone holding a public office in Nigeria is clearly embedded

in the constitution as provided under Chapter 2 titled: Fundamental

Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy.”

“Specifically, Chapter 2 provides among others that all public offices

shall be held in trust for the Nigerian people; that all persons placed in

positions of leadership and responsibility shall in their work be

answerable to the people; and that all lawful measures shall be taken to

expose, combat and eradicate corruption and abuse or misuse of power by

those holding political and other public offices.”
“SERAP believes that the allegations of budget padding by the leadership

of the House of Representatives have undermined the status of the National

Assembly which is supposed to be the fountain of constitutionalism. The

Speaker, as the head of the House, has a big role to play in guiding

parliamentarians to embrace transparency by sending a powerful message

that allegations of corruption will not be condoned, tolerated or covered

up.”
“SERAP believes that the House of Representatives cannot function

effectively nor enjoy public trust and confidence as long as the

allegations of budget padding continue to trail its leadership.”

“By stepping aside and ensuring that others suspected to be involved in

the budget padding also step aside until such a time as the investigations

by the EFCC and other agencies are completed, you will be promoting acts

that would enhance the integrity and respect for the National Assembly, as

well as strict observance of the constitution both in letter and spirit.”

The post EFCC probe on budget padding: SERAP asks Dogara, others to step aside appeared first on Pointblank News .


"IF YOU BELIEVE IN THINGS YOU DONT UNDERSTAND,YOU SUFFER."
By: K.OWARE - Hamburg