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Budget Padding: Dogara Shuns Police Invitation

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has shunned the invitation of the police Special Investigating Panel over allegations of budget padding. The PUNCH reliably gathered on Wednesday that the Speaker did not honour the police invitation because the letter was not signed by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
The panel had in a letter to Dogara requested him and others mentioned in the petition to appear before it last Friday. The Speaker, however, did not honour the invitation.  Rather, he met with President Muhamadu Buhari over the budget crisis on Friday.
While Dogara’s accuser and a former House Appropriation Chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin, appeared before the panel last week Friday and on Tuesday, Dogara and other principal officers shunned it. Jibrin had accused the Speaker of padding the 2016 budget in collusion with some officers of the House.
Jibrin had submitted a petition against the accused to the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, urging the agencies to probe them.
The lawmaker had also visited the police last Wednesday with documents to back up his claims.
The PUNCH gathered on Wednesday that the police invitation was regarded as an “informal invitation.”
A committee chairman close to Dogara who spoke on condition of anonymity told our correspondents that although an invitation was sent to the Speaker last week by the police, the document was “considered to be informal because it was signed by a low-ranking officer.”
He said, “The Speaker is the number four citizen of this country. “If you are sending a letter to him, there should be a signature of the Inspector-General of Police on it.” But a source close to the public panel told one of our correspondents that Dogara’s reason was not tenable, adding that any member of the panel could sign the invitation.
When contacted, Dogara’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, said he would make enquiries and get back to The PUNCH.
However, as of 9.48pm on Wednesday, Hassan had yet to return the call. He also did not reply to a text message sent to his mobile phone. The Force Public Relations Officer, Donald Awunah, said he could not comment because he did not know anything about the investigation.
“I don’t know about the investigation, so I can’t comment,” he said on the telephone.

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