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SERAP to Dogara: Budget padding is a crime of corruption

Source: pointblanknews.com
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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has faulted the

claim by the Speaker of House of Representatives Mr Yakubu Dogara that

“budget padding is not a crime under Nigerian law.”

Mr Dogara said this after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the

presidential villa last week. According to him, “Budget padding is not an

offence. What is padding? I studied law and I have been in the legislature

and all this period I have never heard of the word padding being an

offence under any law…Why should I be worried. As far as I am concerned, I

am not worried over anything.”
But in a statement today by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the

organization said that, “Budget padding in fact is corruption, as it is

implicit in corruption offences such as abuse of office, attempt to

embezzle, divert, and misappropriate public funds, conspiracy to act

corruptly, and illicit enrichment, which are recognized under the UN

Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party, and

included in national legislation such as the Corrupt Practices and Other

Related Offences Act, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

Establishment Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act.”

The statement reads in part: “The allegations against Mr Dogara and other

principal officials of the House of Representatives also suggest a

subversion of the budget process, which in itself is a crime but also a

fundamental breach of constitutional provisions and an affront to

internationally recognized human rights.”
“A prima-facie case of corruption is established when elected officials

are allegedly influenced to act contrary to their obligations of office by

the prospect of financial gain to themselves. Budget padding also amounts

to corruption as the action is against the public interest. Any appearance

of corruption in the budget process can result in a cynical public to

losing interest in political participation altogether. And democracy can't

work unless Nigerians have faith in those who govern.”

“If Mr Dogara refuses to resign to allow for effective and transparent

investigation and the allegations of budget padding are swept under the

carpet, the ability of the House of Representatives to function as a

watchdog and credible guardian of the public interest would be seriously

compromised.”
“The allegations of budget padding and abuse of office by the Speaker and

principal officials of the House of Representatives have continue to

outrage the public, bringing the House's integrity further into question.”

“Mr Dogara therefore has a duty to explain to Nigerians the role he played

in the alleged budget padding in the House and abuse of office if the

growing perception of corruption in the House is to be addressed.”

“Nigerians would like Mr Dogara to explain how the funds meant for

legislative functions to service guest houses were spent. Nigerians would

also like Mr Dogara to explain allegations that favours were sought from

multinational companies including the allegation that a construction

company was compelled to carry out some work at his Asokoro 'plot'.”

“The truth about the alleged budget padding and abuse of office cannot be

kept from the public, and treated as an internal matter or a case of see

no evil, speak no evil.”
“The more the leadership of the House of Representatives recoils and

resists Nigerians' calls for investigation and accountability for those

involved in the alleged budget padding and abuse of office, the more

Nigerians will turn on the House of Representatives, and the calls for

those involved to step down and for an independent and transparent

investigation and prosecution will only get stronger.”

The post SERAP to Dogara: Budget padding is a crime of corruption appeared first on Pointblank News .