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Budget Padding: DSS, Police Get Buhari’s Nod On Probes

There are strong indications that the police and Department of State Services have received the backing of President Muhammadu Buhari, to carry out full investigations into the N480bn budget padding in the House of Representatives.
Sunday PUNCH gathered on Saturday that the security agencies had already swung into action by scrutinising documents collected from a former Chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee,  Abdulmumin Jibrin, as part of the investigations into the  budget padding. Investigations showed that Buhari, as part of his commitment to the anti-graft war was  favourably disposed to investigations into the allegations in spite of his closeness to the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara.
It was learnt that Jibrin, who visited the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Friday, submitted written demands by four principal officers of the House during the vetting of the 2016 budget by the National Assembly.
It was  gathered that the lawmaker  made copies of the same documents available to the police detectives as investigation into the scam began last week. It was also learnt that security agencies had started scrutinising the documents with a view to determining members of the House that would be quizzed.
It was gathered that the DSS, during the week, would start the investigation with the questioning of civil servants working in the National Assembly Budget Office and that other affected principal officers would subsequently be invited. Jibrin had, in his petitions to the security agencies, accused the Speaker of the House;  Dogara, his  deputy, Yusuf Lasun;  the House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa, and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, of  padding the budget.
It was gathered that security officers were  banking on using as evidence written  demands by the principal officers  to establish a criminal case against the House leadership. Sources said Jibrin had submitted “incontrovertible” evidence linking the four men to the budget padding incident that embarrassed the Federal Government.
Among the documents, said to have been provided by the petitioner, was the breakdown of the amount that was added to the budget which was allegedly to be shared by Dogara and his cohorts.
In one of the demand notes, the speaker was to get N3bn;  the deputy speaker, N2.55bn; House leader and chief whip, N1.8bn each; deputy leader and deputy chief whip, N1.5bn each; minority leader and minority whip, N1.4bn each; while the deputy minority leader and deputy minority whip would each get N1.3bn, totalling N17.5 bn.
Other evidence that may be used to establish a case against the house leadership include the document on the N20bn projects allegedly inserted in the 2016 budget under the service wide vote.
It was also gathered that detectives  were examining a document showing the 2,000 projects inserted into the budget by 10 standing committees chairmen which was approved by the speaker. The projects amounted to N284bn. The total  amount of the budget padding  was said to be N480bn.

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