By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja – The Police Special Investigation team probing the alleged padding of the 2016 budget by Principal Officers of the House of Representatives as claimed by former Appropriation Chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin has not decided to take any tough stance or action against the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the four invited Principal officers of the House because it is still working to reconcile the myriads of allegations made against the house leadership by Hon. Jibrin.
The disclosure was made just as it emerged that crack detectives are soon to be deployed to investigate a multi-billion farm said to belong to the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, in Nasarawa State, to investigate the source of the billions of naira invested in the farm in the last one year, that has resulted in a 6 hectare farmland increasing to over 50 hectares, with state of the art facilities, including buildings, machinery and equipment many of which were imported.
Vanguard gathered that the conflicting padding figures bandied by the sacked appropriation chairman including N20billion, N40billion, N90billion and N281billion, needed to be ascertained and its authenticity confirmed and a competent case of fraud established before the leadership of the house would be made to appear before the investigative panel.
Sources close to the Special panel headed by an Assistant Inspector General of Police told Vanguard that painstaking evaluation of all the budgets’ with question marks as claimed by Jibrin was being done and that efforts were being made to ‘extract’ suspected portions of the alleged padding after comparism with what was submitted by the executive, what was earlier sent for Mr. President’s signature, the one that was rejected, why it was rejected and the one that was jointly adopted by the Senate and the House of Representatives before it was signed by President Buhari.
“At this level, I cannot say that Dogara has snubbed the Police investigation. We need to get out acts together, get out facts right and establish the nature of the crime, if any before we really go out for them. With the discrepancies in the figures alleged to have been padded, it will amount to a wild goose chase if the leadership comes and you start quoting several figures”.
While noting that the Police investigation had nothing to do with the roles being played by the Political party, (APC) not that of the House of Reps internal investigations, another source said, we are purely carrying out investigations because several parties have written and submitted petitions to the IGP on the matter and lawfully, the Police has no other choice but to investigate.
Asked if the police was apprehensive, the Speaker and the principal officers may snub the invitation when the Special Investigation team finally establishes reason to summon them, the source said, “As the Speaker of the federal republic, who is also a lawyer and knows the implication of police investigating such a sensitive matter, there is no doubt he will honour our investigation to either clear his name or try to let the police know what the true position is. It is just to help police investigation and nothing more.
On the Speaker’s Farm in Nasarawa, the source said, Jibrin disclosed in his petition that Dogara allegedly used monies realized from Budget paddings to finance the massive projects that sprang up in a matter of months, wondering how such world class machinery and infrastructure could be put in place when there is no record of the Speaker being the beneficiary of a World Bank Loan.
It will be recalled that when Abdulmumin Jibrin visited the Police to submit his petition with his lawyers on August 1 2016, he disclosed that aside the Speaker of the House, the Deputy Speaker, the Minority Leader, the nine chairmen of the various committees actively participated in the alleged padding crime and they should all face the music.