The allegation of budget padding raised by the embattled former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jubrin, against the leadership of the National Assembly, appears to be gaining the attention of security agencies.
The apparent attention being given to Jibrin may put the leadership of the House of Representatives at odds with the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Executive. But it could not be confirmed at press time if it was in connection with the matter that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, yesterday.
Although Jibrin has been suspended by his colleagues from the chamber, the EFCC appears to have given a listening hear to his major claim that the leadership of the National Assembly allegedly conspired with key officials of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, to insert personal projects into the 2016 budget. Vanguard learned that operatives of the anti-graft agency swooped on the Directors of Finance and Administrations in 16 Federal Ministries, yesterday, questioning them on what they knew about padding of the budget. It was learned that the EFCC invited and grilled the DFAs after receiving copies of the budget from the Clerk of the National Assembly and analysing the original proposals and comparing them from what the NASS passed as approved budget to be signed by the President.
A competent source in EFCC confirmed to Vanguard last night that investigation into the budget padding in the House of Representatives was gathering momentum. “On Thursday, we took time to question no fewer than 16 Directors of Finance and Administrations of 16 Federal Ministries in Abuja and the outcome of the quiz will certainly lead take us to somewhere in resolving the issue of budget padding in Nigeria.
“We decided to invite the key officials for questioning after analyzing the original proposals from the ministries and appropriations from the National Assembly between 2012 and 2016. “The truth of the matter is that once the petition was received, the commission wrote to all the ministries to submit the original copies of their budget proposals from 2012 to 2016 and the versions approved by the National Assembly within the period. The documents were subjected to rigorous comparative analyses.
“The analyses indicate the projects that were inserted into the budget,” the source said. “The commission taking a closer look at the inserted projects with a view to determining the persons responsible for the insertion and to determine if the projects were actually executed. “Already our investigation has revealed the identities of companies that allegedly got contracts to execute most of the inserted projects.
“What we are trying to achieve at the moment is determining the identities behind the companies through the Corporate Affairs Commission and there will also be on site inspection of the projects to determine whether they were actually executed. Detailed accounts of the companies are also being collected for analysis,’’ the source said The source revealed to our correspondent that the commission was in the process of inviting the contractors.
The EFCC has already questioned Honourable Abdulmumin Jubrin who blew the whistle on the budget padding scandal and other persons who wrote petitions against Jubrin. “There are allegations and counter allegations and the commission is looking at all of them,” the source said.