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Government & Politics

Budget Padding Scandal: “Jibrin Personally Added N250bn To 2016 Appropriation Bill” – Reps Drop Bombshell

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The House of Representatives has accused Abdulmumin Jibrin, the ousted chairman of the Committee on Appropriation of inflating the 2016 budget submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari by N250 billion.

In a lengthy statement issued by the House spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, the House said Jibrin was removed on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 for “his incompetence, abuse of budgetary process and serial betrayal, including a proclivity to blackmail”.

The House alleged that Jibrin had inserted funds for the Muhammadu Buhari Film Village in his constituency in Kano without the consent or solicitation of President Buhari.

According to the statement, every time Jibrin gets up to speak on the floor of the House, there was spontaneous chorus of “ole! ole,! ole! or thief! thief! thief! Barawo! Barawo! Barawo!”  from lawmakers.

The statement reads in part:

“It was also discovered that the former chairman, Appropriations, discreetly and clandestinely allocated monies for projects that are not clearly defined in the budget for the purposes of exploiting the ambiguities for personal gains.

“Furthermore, he was found to be responsible for some bogus allocations in the budget for projects that have no locations and were apparently never meant to be executed.

“Hon. Jibrin’s mishandling of the 2016 budget process nearly fractured the otherwise cordial relationship between the Executive and the Legislature and brought the National Assembly and the government to public ridicule.

“For reasons that were not noble and not in the Public Interest, Hon Abdulmumin had initially inflated the Budget by adding about N250b more to the total figure as submitted by Mr President. This, the National Assembly Leadership out rightly rejected as a form of financial recklessness and inability to appreciate the dwindling resources available to government necessitating that we act prudently. He was directed therefore to make even further cuts below Mr Presidents total figure.

“Hon Abdulmumin, in his desperation to ingratiate himself into the good books of the Presidency, unilaterally entered into commitments on the structure of the Budget, without the knowledge of the National Assembly Leadership, in the full knowledge, not only that he had no authority to do so, but dishonestly had no intentions of keeping to those commitments, having done the exact opposite in processing the budget details.

“He displayed crass ineptitude and general lack of capacity to handle the work, thereby serving as a clog in the appropriations process. He contributed significantly to the delays in the passage of the Appropriation Bill. No one, not even his Deputy and Members of the Appropriations Committee, could reach him at certain periods during the budget process.

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“Confirming some of the reasons for his removal and true to type, Hon Abdulmumin has since after his sack, resorted to blackmail, his stock in trade. He has released documents from dubious sources in a desperate bid to lure gullible members of the public to his side. Mr Speaker’s inputs to the 2016 Budget was signed and delivered to him. If he has honour, let him release the signed inputs of Mr Speaker and not pieces of paper that bears no acknowledged authorship.

“The Leadership also observed with embarrassment that since his mismanagement of 2016 Budget process, every time Hon Abdulmumin gets up to speak on the floor of the House, there was spontaneous chorus of ole! ole,! ole! or thief! thief! thief! Barawo! Barawo! Barawo! from Hon. members which climaxed in a motion to have him removed as Chairman, Appropriations.

“It is regrettably true that Hon Abdulmumin was entrusted with critical aspects of the budget, but he is not the sole author of the budget as he appears to be portraying himself. Every reasonable person knows that it is a bare faced lie. His stories without corroboration from anyone who was deeply involved in the Budget process is, mere tales by moon light, a fitting story for bed time. If he has any witness, let them speak up in his support.

“Apparently, he doesn’t know that no one can be convicted even in the court of public opinion based on the evidence of one man.”

Namdas addressed issues regarding the allegation of padding in the National Assembly saying: “When therefore, the National Assembly appropriates funds in the budget, it CAN NEVER under any circumstances or guise be deemed or regarded as tinkering or padding.”

He stated that the legislature is constitutionally incapable of padding the budget.

Pulse recalls that Jibrin had on Thursday, July 21, 2016 called for the resignation of Speaker Dogara, his deputy, Yusuf Lasun, chief whip, Ado Doguwa over alleged corruption.

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