EFCC set to Invite Dogara, Lasun, others over N100bn constituency projects

There are indications that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) may invite the Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, his deputy, Hon. Yusuf Lasun, Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, over the allegations made against them by the former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Dr. Jibrin Abdulmumin.

Abdulmumin, had among other issues, accused the speaker, other principal officers, and some House committee chairman of diverting N40 billion out of N100billion allocated to constituency projects in the 2016 budget.

The former Chairman on Appropriation, who was recently suspended for 180 sittings over his allegations against his colleagues, said that constituency projects worth N40 billion were shared among the principal officers without the approval of the House.

He also claimed that the speaker ignored his complaint that the chairmen of 10 out of the 96 standing committees of the House inserted 2,000 projects worth about N284 billion into the budget, among others.

He further alleged that his refusal to accept a request to insert N30 billion into the 2016 budget caused the rift between him and the leadership of the House.

A senior operative of the said in Abuja yesterday that the anti-graft agency was currently conducting a “discreet but thorough investigation” into the allegations made by Abdulmumin, disclosing that the investigation had reached an advanced stage.

“Our senior operatives involved in the investigation have grilled officials of 16 federal ministries in connection with the on-going probe into the allegations contained in a petition written to the commission by Abdulmumin, the source who spoke in confidence stated.

“Our operatives have gathered some evidence on some of the issues raised in the petition. The commission would soon send invitation letters to some of the members listed in the petition to our commission,” he said.

The source added that the investigation into the petition was “progressing smoothly”, saying that the investigation was being handled on a ministry-by-ministry basis and was going on well.

“Very soon, we will get to a point where those who have any case to answer would be summoned to make clarifications where necessary. In this fight against corruption, we believe nobody is above the law,” the source said.

The struggle has just begun – Jibrin tells Dogara

Former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has stated that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, used legislative tricks to save himself by not allowing the budget padding allegations to be debated by members.

Declaring that he would not appear before any House committee except its hearing is made public; he asserted that “the struggle has just begun”.

Recall that the House had on Wednesday descended into a rowdy session where it passed a motion to investigate the breach of members’ privileges as a result of recent allegations made by the ousted chairman.

The motion, moved by Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Oker-Jev, said the lower chamber had come under “heavy attack” following the allegations.

Jibrin is to appear before the Ethics and Privileges committee, which would investigate him and make recommendations to the House; if found guilty by the committee, the embattled lawmaker risks six months suspension.

He said in a statement, “Rather than open up the matter for discussion in view of the public interest it has generated and allow me to brief my colleagues, an opportunity I have been denied for several months, Mr speaker deployed some legislative tricks and theatrics to save the day.

“In a move that smacks of abuse of process, Speaker Dogara granted under point of order, an opportunity to the chairman of business and rules committee, who started with a speech then suddenly transited to a motion under privilege — a clear case of manipulation and gross abuse of the house rule.

“This is the easiest resort since the attempts to secure a vote of confidence had woefully failed.

“But what happened on the floor of the House today is just the end of another beginning. I have never lived with the illusion that this matter will be a sprint, knowing the deeply-rooted corrupt interest of a few cabal in the House, headed by Speaker Dogara.

“I have all the stamina and agility to go the marathon and ensure justice is served. Despite all these and since I can substantiate the allegations I raised with cogency, I will take up the opportunity provided by the Ethics committee to state my case under the condition that the hearing will be public and will allow the Press, CSOs, NGOs, NLC, ASUU, NANS, NBA and the general public to witness the entire proceedings.

“Predictably, in his speech, Mr. Speaker tried to drag the entire House into the matter to give the impression that the entire House is the accused. I wish to state for the umpteenth times that the allegations I raised are against the quartet of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and few other members — not the honourable house as an institution.

“The bad news for Nigerians is that in the face of such grievous allegations against the Speaker, which members are aware of, and his decision to sit tight, he has become a lame duck Speaker. But even more painfully is the fact that we will continue to call, though in the short run, such fraudulent and corrupt persons in Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa and Ogor number 4 citizen and principal officers of the House respectively.

“Let me use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that the struggle has just begun.”

Budget Padding Scandal: Police Invite Dogara, Others.

Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has raised a five-man special team to probe the alleged padding of the budget by House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and some of his principal officers.

 

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Amodu Ali-led Special Investigative Panel (SIP) has invited Dogara, his deputy Yusuff Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor to appear before it on Friday.

 

The panel Tuesday had what was called “a preliminary session” with ousted House Committee on Appropriations chairman Abdulmumin Jibrin, who accused Dogara and others of padding the budget with N284 billion.

 

Last Monday, Jibrin petitioned the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies over the matter.

 

Jibrin was said to have “furnished the SIP with vital information and a heap of documents” at their meeting yesterday.

 

A highly-placed police source, who spoke in confidence, said Ibrahim has directed the SIP to conduct a “comprehensive investigation into Jibrin’s petition.”

 

We have commenced full investigation into the N284billion budget padding in the House of Representatives based on a petition from Hon. Jibrin.

 

A Special Investigative Panel (SIP), with a crack detective, AIG Amodu Ali as the chairman, is the one saddled with the responsibility of looking into the allegations in the petition.

 

The same Ali uncovered the lid on the $620,000 bribery scam in the House for which a former Chairman of the House Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management, Mallam Farouk Lawan, and the Clerk of the committee, Mr. Boniface Emenalo were indicted. The case is in court.

 

You will recall that Ali was deeply involved in the investigation of the $180million Halliburton scam. So, the SIP is led by an officer who is tested.

 

Asked of the preliminary work done by the SIP, the source added: “As I am talking to you (4pm yesterday), a letter of invitation has been addressed and sent to the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Chief Whip and the Minority Leader.

 

“They will be interrogated by the SIP on Friday. As a prelude to the invitation of the principal officers, the SIP chairman and members had a session with Jibrin on Tuesday.

 

“It was not a grilling session. But Jibrin furnished the team with vital information and a heap of documents to back up the petition he submitted on Monday.

 

We are going into the merit or otherwise of the petition on Friday by inviting Dogara and three others. It is going to be a gradual thing but we will crack the padding controversy.

 

Jibrin confirmed on Tuesday that security has been beefed up around him by the Department of State Service (DSS) and the police.

 

He also asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) to prevail on Dogara to reconvene the House and step aside to face prosecution for alleged budget padding.

 

Jibrin, in a message on his Twitter handle, said: “My attention has been drawn to media reports that I have been summoned to appear before a disciplinary committee of our great party.

 

That I received a letter yesterday evening (Monday) inviting me to a meeting in respect of the crisis in the House on Tuesday (yesterday) by 2pm at the party’s office.”

 

“The letter did not in any way indicate it as a disciplinary committee. And I have responded that I will attend the meeting despite my tight schedules shuttling between security and anti-corruption agencies to provide support and evidence against Speaker Dogara and nine others.”

 

I am confident that the party will do the right thing by throwing its weight to support our resolve to wipe out corruption in the House and direct Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority Leader Ogor to reconvene the House immediately and step down to face imminent prosecution and save the party and our dear country from further embarrassment.

Budget Padding: Why I Revealed The Secret Late – Jibrin

Erstwhile chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, yesterday admitted that his revelations over the alleged padding of the 2016 budget were late.

 

Jibrin explained that he could not expose the budget padding in good time, as it was difficult for him to stand against the institutionalised corruption in the House of Representatives.

 

He also said that allegation of corruption levied against the National Assembly by former president Olusegun Obasanjo could not be totally.

 

Jibrin, while speaking on the controversial insertions into the 2016 budget, on a Channels Television weekly programme, ‘Sunday Politics’ said although this revelations were coming late late, but as the chairman of the committee, he was made to believe that certain information were not to be disclosed.

 

“I fought the battle of my life, I didn’t help myself, I started speaking late,” he said.

 

He added that; “I am a product of the establishment, and now my mentors will now realize that I have gone out of the cycle. I am so glad that I am breaking away from the cycle.”

 

He however explained that the insertions did not affect the size of the budget, noting that the harmonisations committee chaired by the deputy speaker Yusuf Lasun took advantage of the committee to insert more items for personal aggrandizement.

 

Abdulmumini stated further that just 10 standing committees out of the 96 standing committees posted 200 projects which amounted to N284 billion were inserted into the budget.

 

“After collecting the reports of the various committees, we did the statistics and shockingly, I discovered that just about 10 standing committees out of the 96 standing committees of the House posted about 2000 projects, totaling about N284 billion,” he stated.

 

Although, he admitted that the insertions were constitutional that the insertions into the budget by the principal officers of the House were constitutional, and it is a usual practice in the national assembly, he maintained that the insertions were outrageous and above the limit.

“There is that unanimity in the national assembly, we all do not agree with the word padding, of course as I have explained that there are so many insertions from the angle of the National Assembly, even though the law allows it, internally, I raised an observation, of course, I discussed the matter with the speaker, that personally I believe that the insertions were too much. And it is also very important that the constitution gave us the power to appropriate, but the intention is what I question, those were the issues I fought until eventually I left,” he said.

 

He stated further that; There have been insertions in past budgets; I saw the insertions in budgets of 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. The only difference is that in 2016, the insertions went completely above the board.”

 

Abdulmumini maintained that there is Institutionalised corruption in the House, but members are quick to deny the fact.

 

“There is institutionalised corruption in the House, but we keep living in denial, it is my fifth year in the National Assembly, I have never been involved in corruption, I have never shared money.”

 

According to Abdulmumini, the size and quantity of insertions would always cause a rift between the executive and legislative arm of government. If the insertion into the budget is done from the executive arm of government, members of the national assembly refer to such insertion as padding, and when it is done by the National Assembly members, the executive arm of government also refer to it as padding.

 

When pointedly asked to explain the role of ministries, departments and agencies in the conspiracy, Jibrin said; “I don’t want to involve the executive arm of government in this, because the matter is already controversial, of course a lot transpired between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Budget office on one hand and the Ministry of Budget and the Budget Office on the other hand.”

 

He noted that his mission was to force a revolution in the House of Representatives and a lot of issues ranging from corruption and conduct of members will be raised.

Budget Padding: 100 Reps Want Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa, And Leo Ogor Prosecuted.

Members of the House of Representatives, under aegis of Transparency Group, yesterday, told the anti-graft agencies to wade into alleged padding of the 2016 budget by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara; his deputy, Yusuf Lasun; Chief Whip, Ado Doguwa, and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, and ensure credible investigation.

 

The group also claimed that it had collected signatures from about 100 members of the House, cutting across the six geopolitical zones of the country and from different political parties, dissociating themselves from the media briefing by the chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, saying the allegations had nothing to do with the entire House.

469 NASS Members Have 5 Aides Each- Lasun

Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yussuf, yesterday said that there will be no amount of pressure that would make him resign his position as the Deputy Speaker.

Fielding question from journalists in Abuja yesterday, on the alleged pressure on him to step down from his position by some All Progressives Congress, APC, Chieftains, following the controversy trailing the election of the presiding officers of the 8th assembly, Hon. Yussuf said his election followed due process, hence, there was no way he would ever contemplate to resign.

Some of the APC Chieftains it was gathered had wanted him to step down for Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the choice of the party who had lost the Speakership seat to Hon. Dogara for the Deputy position.

Describing the alleged pressure to resign as speculations, he said, “why will I resign, I went through an election.”

He also explained that the speculation that the National Assembly takes a good chunk of the national budget, was unfounded, noting that out of the previous budgetary allocation of N150 billion, only N120 billion was budgeted in the 2015 appropriation.

Besides, he said that from the budget, the aides of the Senators and House of Representatives members, technocrats and their staff as well as the staff of the National Assembly Commission are paid.

He said, “when you talk about salary, it has to be tied to something. Let me tell you this, for the last three years with the exception of 2015, the budget of the national Assembly has been N150 billion and that is exactly 2.67 percent of the total budget of the federation.

“So, I don’t know where people see this to say it is 25 percent of the budget of the National Assembly. The budget of the National Assembly is 2.6 percent of the entire budget of the country and so it is not overblown.

“And people have forgotten too that there are 469 members of the National Assembly with each of the member with five aides that would be paid from the N150 billion.

“We have the National Assembly technocrats and their staffers and the National Assembly commission – all of them earn their salaries and allowances from these N150 billion.

“So, when people talk they always think that it is the House of Representatives members and senators that collect the N150 billion. And again don’t forget that for 2015 budget, the money has been reduced to N120 billion.

“So, when you do the calculation, that is why the Dogara speakership in the last one week has repeatedly said, he is going to do a needs assessment, that he is going to engage development partners to actually sit down and see what it takes for the national Assembly to be run as an arm of government.

“And you might be surprised that we have reasons for doing that because we can compare with other legislative bodies all over the world but it is not going to come from us, it is going to come from the body that would sit on the issue.”

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I Won’t Resign For Gbajabiamila, Lasun Vows

The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yusuf Lasun, said on Tuesday that he would not resign for Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila having been duly elected by members to occupy the position.

He spoke in Abuja amid speculation that he had come under pressure from some forces in the All Progressives Congress in the South-West, asking him to step down for a former Minority Leader of the House, Gbajabiamila.

But Lasun, who was accosted by journalists at the National Assembly as he stepped out of a committee room, reacted, “That is a speculation; why will I resign?

“I went through an election on the mandate of the Speaker (Mr. Yakubu Dogara).”

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Investigation Into 7th Assembly: Lasun, 190 Other Reps Had No Bill In 4 Years- Report

An official report of the past 7th House of Representatives, tagged “Status of Bills, Petitions and Other Legislative Measures,” released on the authority of the former House speaker and now governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, shows that a staggering 191 out of the 360 House members spent four years without sponsoring any bill of their own between 2011 and 2015.

Leading the pack of lawmakers in this unsavoury list is the current deputy speaker of the House, Yusuf Lasun (Osun, APC), Bethel Amadi (Imo, PDP), Abdulmumin Jibrin (Kano, APC), and former member, Farouk Lawan (Kano, PDP).

The remaining 169 federal lawmakers sponsored bills within the period under review. The official publication was put together by the Hon. Albert Sam-Tsokwa-led Rules and Business Committee of the 7th House.

It said a total of 755 bills were introduced to the House and they were all read for the first time on the floor of the House. 679 of the bills were initiated by private members, six were sent from the Senate while 70 were executive bills. Only 123 of them were passed by the House including the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) before its tenure expired on June 6, 2015.

Leading the group of bills’ sponsors are Hon. Ali Ahmad (APC, Kwara), Hon. Uzoma Nkem Abonta (PDP, Abia) and Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos). They were by miles the most prolific House members and sponsored 36, 32 and 20 bills respectively.

The trio of Ahmad, Abonta and Gbajabiamila were re-elected into the current 8th Assembly House of Representatives which was inaugurated on June 9, 2015.

Current House speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara (Bauchi, APC), who was a member of the 7th House, sponsored seven bills including the Data Protection Bill (HB.45) 2011. However, his deputy, Lasun Yusuf (Osun/APC), who was also a member of the 7th House, did not sponsor any bill, according to the official report which covered the period between June 6, 2011 and June 5, 2015.

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