Fidelis Soriwei, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is intensifying a discreet investigation into the allegations made by the former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, against the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officials of the House.
A top operative of the commission told The PUNCH on Tuesday that the operatives involved in the investigation into the allegations made by Jibrin was at an advanced stage.
The source said the commission had grilled officials of 16 federal ministries in connection with the probe into the allegations contained in the petition written to the commission by Jibrin, who was suspended by the House in September.
It was further stated that operatives of the commission had gathered some evidence on some of the issues raised in the petition.
It was gathered that the commission would soon send invitation letters to some of the members listed in the petition to the commission.
Abdulmumin had accused the Speaker, Dogara, and other principal officers of the House of padding the 2016 budget to the tune of N40bn as constituency project.
He had alleged in the petition that the N40bn projects were shared among the Speaker, his Deputy, Yussuff Lasun; the Whip of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor.
He also alleged that Dogara ignored his complaint that the chairmen of 10 out of the 96 standing committees inserted 2,000 projects worth about N284bn into the budget among others.
He had claimed also that his refusal to accept a requested insertion of N30bn into the 2016 budget caused the rift between him and the leadership of the house.
The source, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said, “The commission is seriously working on the petition against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and some principal officers of the House.
“The investigation is progressing smoothly. As a matter of fact, operatives have interrogated officers of 16 ministries in reaction to the matter.
“We will soon get to the level where those who have cases to answer would be invited to make clarifications where necessary.”
The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption had said the panel had a meeting with Jibrin which lasted for five hours.
The Executive Secretary of PACAC, Prof, Bolaji Owasanoye, had said during a briefing in Abuja that the committee would give the necessary advice to the government on the issue.
He said, “We have met with Jibrin, which all of you know about; we are following up. I cannot tell you that publicly.
“We have met with Jibrin; it is not a lie, it was a very useful engagement for five hours, so, that tells you that it was not a tea party.
“We asked questions, he provided answers, he needed to explain what he meant and then of course we are then making our advisory to government as the case may be.”Efforts of our correspondent to confirm the grilling of the officials of the ministries on the budget padding probe from the spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, on Tuesday, did not succeed as his mobile failed to connect.
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Fidelis Soriwei, Abuja