Alleged budget padding: EFCC extends probe to Senate •Again, Jibrin at police hqtrs, submits more documents

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Monday, kicked off its investigation of the alleged padding of 2016 budget in line with allegations contained in the petition by the sacked chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Jibrin was, again, at the Force Headquarters on Monday, to make additional statements on his allegation against the Speaker,  Honourable Yakubu Dogara and 13 other principal officers of the House.

Informed police sources told the Nigerian Tribune that Jibrin came with bundles of documents, which he submitted to the police.

He was also said to have come with a retinue of his supporters to the Force headquarters, where they also made statements of all they knew about the alleged budget padding.

Jibrin had, in his determination to expose alleged wrongdoing in the process of the passage of the 2016 budget, petitioned the anti-graft body as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), alleging that over N400 billion was involved in the budget padding scandal.

The police, last week, waded into the same issue, a development said to have created a level of confusion for the EFCC, with an official saying, “we don’t know what the man really wants, by sending the same petition to different agencies.”

Sources close to the commission, however, confirmed on Monday that the EFCC had decided to launch into the allegations and get to the root of the matter.

Specifically, the source said the EFCC had launched investigations into the possible involvement of the Senate Committee on Appropriations in the alleged padding.

Some preliminary findings by the EFCC team, it was gathered, indicated that there was the need to beam searchlight into activities of the Senate appropriation committee.

The committee, according to findings, was to be investigated for alleged insertions amounting to about N5 billion in some ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Though Jibrin did not specifically refer to the Senate committee in his petitions, sources said the EFCC had decided to broaden its investigations to cover activites of the upper chamber, adding that since the budget was jointly passed by the two chambers, whatever affected one should affect the other.

Spokesman for the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, told the Nigerian Tribune on Monday that he was not in a position to confirm the extent of investigations on the petition submitted by Hon Jibrin.

“It is true that the lawmaker submitted a petition to the commission but I cannot confirm how far we have gone at this moment,” Uwujaren said.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, could not be reached on Monday as he did not pick his phone or reply text messages.

Nigerian Tribune, however, gathered that Jibrin and his associates spent over three hours with detectives, led by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police.

The source disclosed that the police was telling him to prove his case beyond all reasonable doubts, saying  that was why he came to submit bundles of documents and to make additional statements.

According to the source, “we are discussing with Jibrin, getting more information and studying the documents and will soon invite all relevant parties involved in the case.”

Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC), on Monday, decried Jibrin for disregarding the party’s intervention moves.

This was contained in a statement released to newsmen in Abuja by Mr Timi Frank, the acting national publicity secretary of the party.

Frank, in the statement, said the APC deputy national chairman (North), Senator Lawal Shuaibu, had addressed a letter to Jibrin ordering him to avoid issuing public statements on the lingering budget scandal at the green chamber.

Jubrin had, in his latest tweets, accused the speaker of conniving with two serving governors and ex-lawmakers of trying to change the media narrative against him.

Frank accused Jibrin of lack of respect for the Lawal-led committee, which, it said, was working tirelessly to resolve the crisis.