Budget Padding: Take Over Reps, Jibrin Tells Senate | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Budget Padding: Take Over Reps, Jibrin Tells Senate

Court Jibrin
Posted: Sep 26, 2016 at 4:20 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

* Ready For Jail If Found Guilty

* Shuns Ethics Committee

* Appear In Your Own Interest – Chairman

Ahmed Musa

Abuja – Abdulmumin Jibrin, embattled former chairman of the House of Representatives’ Appropriation Committee, on Sunday called on the Senate to take over the functions of the House by invoking the doctrine of necessity in order to force out Speaker Yakubu Dogara and other accused principal officers.

He stated this at a press conference in his house where he also revealed documents showing how the speaker, his deputy, the whip as well as other accused chairmen of committees allegedly carried out illegal insertions in the budget.

Jibrin, who challenged the speaker and other accused members to deny his allegations, also reiterated his readiness to point out every item allegedly inserted by whom, under what sub-head, the MDAs and the amount involved.

“I said that because we will be doing a huge de-service if we don’t do anything. Nigerians are very angry about what’s going on. Does it make any sense for the speaker to sit down and be talking about 2017 budget or economic recession in the face of these weighty allegations against him? Is he supposed to be sitting there without clearing his name of the allegations?

“So I’m saying that the Senate should choose between the speaker and the people of Nigeria. If they choose Nigerians, then they should rely on the doctrine of necessity to pass a resolution that would enable them take over the functions of the House until such a time when issues of corruption in the House are comprehensively dealt with and a new speaker installed.

“As it stands today, the House of Representatives with Speaker Dogara on seat, has lost the moral grounds to discharge its functions since it has failed to deal with such grievous allegations decisively and in a transparent manner. I will urge the Senate to rely on the doctrine of necessity to continue to discharge the duties of the National Assembly until such a time that the House of Representatives would have concluded the process of internal cleansing”, he said.

Asked to be categorical in his resolve regarding his impending appearance before the Ethics Committee today, he said he won’t appear before a committee whose members have all taken sides even before the investigation by virtue of their open support for Speaker Dogara and others accused.

“I’m not appearing before any Ethics committee and I’ve told you why. The chairman has demonstrated that he lacks the capacity to be fair. And you could also see members of the same committee putting on pro-Dogara mufflers on the floor of the House on Wednesday with the inscription, “I stand with Dogara”. So they are all interested parties in the matter.

“Therefore, the House Rules for Ethics Committee shall hold in abeyance. However, even if the House of Representative decides to investigate the allegations, it must be done in collaboration with the police and anti-graft agencies who have the constitutional powers of investigation into allegations that are criminal in nature”, Jibrin insisted.

He also noted that the privilege of a member does not accord him or her immunity to being exposed if involved in corrupt practices, and exposing budget fraud and corruption can never amount to misconduct.

He said the decision to brief the press and make the documents indicting Dogara and others public given the burden of proof that lies on his shoulder as the person who alleged, coupled with the fact that the speaker has denied him the opportunity to.

“As a popular legal maxim observes the onus of proof lies with the plaintiff or accuser. As in several instances in the past, I am compelled to share these documents with the press today as a last resort because Speaker Dogara has continued to deny me the opportunity to present my case before my colleagues.

“All my attempts in the past few months to be given the floor to brief my colleagues were frustrated by Speaker Dogara and his cabal that hold the House by the jugular.

“Our resumption from recess provided an opportunity  for me to brief my colleagues but the speaker once again, in a show of shame, blocked me and used all sort of legislative antics to refer me to Committee on Ethics and Privileges for investigation on breaches of privileges of members and misconduct”, he added.

However, Osai Nicholas Osai, chairman, House committee on Ethics and Privileges, in his reaction said that his committee looks forward to seeing Jibrin at the hearing, advising him to appear in his own interest.

Osai said since Jibrin has not formally written the committee stating his intention to shun the hearing and the reasons for such action, he would advise that appearing to state his own side of the story would do him a lot of good than staying away.

Reacting to allegations that members of his committee are bias and have taken side with the speaker on the matter, Osai said any member discovered to be an interested party by implication and conduct would be asked to excuse him or herself from the hearing.

Osai cited an example that, Herman Hembe, a member of the committee who has shown such disposition has written to the committee to excuse himself from the hearing and it is on record.

He said the referral before the committee has nothing to do with budget padding issues but infractions on the privileges of members, adding that the referral did not come from the speaker but the House as an institution which is bigger than the speaker or anybody else.

Osai vows to step aside from his chair and handover to his deputy should he been seen to show interest or personal bias in the investigation, adding that Jibrin has nothing to fear with regards to fairness and objectivity on the part of the committee.

Comments (1)

  • Sep 26, 2016 at 3:45 pm Aremu Oladepo

    Malam Jibril can and will never get fair hearing talkies of judgement. The speaker coupled with fellow alleged members should step aside to equally appear before panel. Somebody caring supportive card of Mr. Speaker to preside on Jibril is unfair. Let the committee comprises of security agents be inaugurated. What happened to Mr. Speaker when he shunned Police investigating committee. Pls let us be wise, we don’t have reputable leaders in the House.

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