The immediate past chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, further released more ‘incriminating’ documents purporting to show widespread fraudulent manipulation of the 2016 budget by lawmakers.
Jibrin, who was sacked last week as the committee chair, yesterday further accused the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, his Deputy, Yusuf Sulaimon Lasun and two other principal officers, of ‘smuggling’ billions of naira into the budget with fake and fictitious projects.
The new documents, revealed how some few lawmakers allegedly applied for, or received approvals for the so-called constituency projects.
The ‘documents’ showed how Lasun, who chaired the committee that approved the final House version of the budget, “arbitrarily earmarked funds for fictitious” projects to different lawmakers by embedding them in genuine projects proposed by the executive for ministries, departments and agencies.
According to a handwritten document, which Jibrin claimed Lasun authored, the deputy speaker directed that N594 million worth of projects should be embedded in the Ministries of Agriculture, Labour and Trade and Investment, as well as the National Boundary Commission for Chief Whip, Alhassan Doguwa and Deputy House Leader, Buba Jibrin, alleging that these were in the region of billions of naira.
But the House of Representatives has fired back at Jibrin over his many claims which it described as lies, saying the aggrieved lawmaker was incompetent and corrupt, a reason the House said, earned him the ouster as committee chair.
Addressing journalists in Abuja yesterday, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, explained that recent complaints against Jibrin by some MDAs, while holding sway as the finance committee chair in the seventh assembly, had prompted an internal investigation, following which acts of corrupt practices by him were uncovered, and that same would soon be made available to the anti-graft agencies.
According to the lawmaker, Jibrin has penchant for intimidating people into submitting to his whims and caprices, especially during the 2016 budgeting process. He said the constituencies’ intervention projects, which Jibrin was erroneously referred to as padding, were an age-long practice that had received the blessing and understanding of both the executive and legislative arms of government.
Namdas said, the lawmaker, after his removal, strangely went into a press war “in which he is maligning, misrepresenting and denigrating the Speaker, the leadership, the entire members of the House and indeed the House as an institution”, adding that there had been plethora of complaints against him to the leadership of the House.
“The Leadership was also in receipt of complaints about his activities as Chair of Finance Committee in the 7th Assembly, which had potentials to embarrass the House. Investigations found that from 2011 – 2015 Hon Abdulmumin domiciled with Hadejia – Jama’are River Basin Authority and few other MDAs some of the allocations meant for his former Finance Committee members.
“He was alleged to have aided the use of front companies that collected funds without executing most of the projects. The projects have been compiled and will be referred to the anti-graft agencies to establish why the projects were fully paid for and not executed. Who collected the funds and why has Hon. Abdulmumin not raised any alarm about the non execution of the projects even now?” he stated.
Explaining reason the leadership decided to sack him as head of the committee, Namdas said “his removal was based on sundry acts of misconduct, incompetence, total disregard for his colleagues and abuse of the budgetary process, among others.
“One of the fundamental reasons why the House Leadership removed him is that, he was found not to be fit and proper person to hold such a sensitive office which exposes him to high officials of government at all levels. Furthermore, in the course of the performance of his duties as Chairman of Appropriations Committee, it became evident that he does not possess the temperament and maturity required for such a high office.
“He was in the habit of collating, warehousing and manipulating sensitive information to blackmail people sometimes apparently for pecuniary purposes. And by the virtue of his position as Appropriations Chairman, he meets with very high and senior public officers at all levels.
“The Speaker and the Leadership were inundated with complaints by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over harassment from the House Appropriations Chairman to engage in conduct and acts unbecoming of their offices.
“The Leadership lunched an internal investigation into these allegations and was largely satisfied that action had to be taken to remove him, in the interest of the integrity of the House.
“One clear example is the insertion of Funds for the so called Muhammadu Buhari Film Village in his constituency in Kano state without the consent or solicitation of Mr. President. This has brought both Mr. President and the government to disrepute.
“Again, it was found out that he was fond of inserting projects into prominent persons’ constituencies without their knowledge to curry favour and possibly use it as a means of blackmail against them when necessary”, he said, adding that Jibrin would have ample opportunity to exercise his rights to fair hearing when the Ethics and Privileges Committee launch investigation into the matter.
He was also accused of discreetly and clandestinely allocating monies for projects that are not clearly defined in the budget for the purposes of exploiting the ambiguities for personal gains, as well as being responsible for some bogus allocations in the budget for projects that have no locations and were apparently never meant to be executed, among other alleged misdeeds.