Budget Padding: Gbajabiamila Offers Self For Investigation
THE Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos) has offered himself for investigation by security and anti-corruption agencies over alleged padding of the 2016 budget.
Former Chair of Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC, Kano) had alleged Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor of illegally padding the budget with about N40b. Jibrin also accused nine Committee Chairmen of inserting 2000 fictitious projects amounting to N284b into the budget. Gbajabiamila, in a statement yesterday however noted that though his name was not mentioned by Jibrin of padding the budget since the controversy began, there was a need for him to clear his name.
The Majority Leader, who contested the Speakership position with Dogara also affirmed the innocence of the entire body of Principal officers of the House on the budget padding scandal. He said: “I returned from the United States just yesterday after a three week break I called the Speaker a day before my return to urgently fix a Principal Officers meeting so we could address the several allegations made by Hon Jibrin.
“At the meeting Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun , Chief Whip, Hon Ado Dogwa and Minority Leader, Hon Leo Ogor passionately and vigorously clearly stated their innocence. “A prepared text was read and we all agreed to sign. For me as the Leader of the House I felt it was important to give them the benefit of doubt which in any case is what our constitution says.
“The decision to relieve Hon Jibrin was indeed a collective decision of which I was a part of. “However I gave a caveat before the press release was signed, I made it clear to my colleagues in the leadership that because somehow my name had been sullied in all of this and fake documents and publications had been put out there in traditional and social media which stated I was also involved in the so called padding of the budget, that I would need to clear my name and that even though no petition was filed against me by Hon Jibrin and no invitation was extended to me by the police, I would be submitting myself on my own volition to the police for investigation.
“This is important to me as insinuations have been made from many quarters that I along with others were sponsoring Hon Jibrin. I have just this afternoon met with the police authorities for a proper and thorough investigation of my role if any in this whole bizzare episode.