The budget padding allegation which rocked the House of Representatives last year has returned to the front burner, TheNation reports. 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday reportedly grilled former House Committee on Appropriations Chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin for five hours over the about N284billion budget padding claim. 

It was learnt that Jibrin released fresh evidence to his interrogators. 

Sources described the “fresh insights” as “startling”. 

According to TheNations, Jibrin arrived at the EFCC Headquarters around 11am  for the session. 

He left at 4pm after what was described as an “interesting session”.

Jibrin is the first lawmaker to be quizzed in the  first phase of the probe which is starting with 13 persons. 

About 50 members of the House, including four principal officers, was said to have been shortlisted for quizzing. 

The principal officers are Speaker Yakubu Dogara; Deputy Speaker Lasun Yusuf; Minority Leader Leo Ogor; and House Whip Alhassan Doguwa. 

Ogor has been invited for interrogation on Friday. 

The probe followed a petition by Jibrin, who sources said, detectives have discovered also has a case to answer. 

Jibrin’s July 29, 2016 petition was sent through Hammart and Company, Doka Chambers, and Law Bond Solicitors. 

The signatories are Mohammed Abdulhamid (Hammart and Company); A.B. Bako

(Doka Chambers) and C. Nwachukwu (Law Bond Solicitors).

TheNation has it that a source in the EFCC who spoke in confidence with their correspondent, said: “Our detectives interrogated Jibrin for about five hours on his petition. He cooperated with our team by buttressing his allegations with  documents. He gave detectives fresh insights into the padding of the budget leading to more startling revelations. From the interesting session, this budget padding is deeper than we tought.

“We are going to look into fresh clues provided by Jibrin who also has questions to answer on some constituency projects. I think more than two-thirds of members of the House were implicated in the budget padding. We will however restrict ourselves to 50 peculiar suspects.”

The allegations are:

  • Inclusion of N20billion wasteful projects by House leaders.
  • Unilateral diversion of  N40billion,  out of the N100billion allocated for constituency projects, by some House leaders and distribution of  same to themselves. 
  • Chairmen of about 10 of the 96 standing committees of the House inserted over 2,000 projects worth about N284billion. 
  • Creation of  a strange line item in the Service Wide Vote to allow for a N20billion insertion into the budget under the name of the National Assembly. 
  • Relocation of Appropriations Committee Secretariat on two occasions  where several insertions were made into the budget 
  • Diversion of a Federal Government water project to a personal farm in Nasarawa State and the source of funding. 
  • Monthly deduction of funds from votes  meant for members’ office running cost to fund a so-called mortgage arrangement. 
  • Abuse of office through frequent private meetings with heads of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) in a clear case of corruption and conflict of interest.
  • Some leaders allocated 20 per cent inputs reserved for the House the harmonisation exercise.”

Credit: The Nation Newspapers