The criminality of budget padding

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Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana

Femi Falana

Last week, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the House of Representatives arrogantly maintained that he would not subject himself to the investigation being conducted by both the Nigeria Police Force and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). As far as he is concerned, he enjoys immunity under the provisions of the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act. The embattled Speaker also claimed that the padding of the 2016 is not a criminal offence. Honourable Dogara’s confidence is likely to have been anchored on the statement credited to the Presidency that the budget was not padded in any material particular.

Before then the All Progressives Congress (APC) had decided to follow the discredited path of the Peoples Democratic Party by treating the serious allegation of monumental corruption as a “family affair” of the ruling party. But unlike the PDP the party failed to act timeously. In other words, a cover up is no longer possible at this stage as the cat has been let out of the bag. For now, Honourable Dogara has no choice but to defend the criminal allegations. Contrary to his misleading contention, the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act has not conferred immunity on him with respect to allegations of criminal offences. Since the immunity conferred by the Act is limited to contributions to debates by members of the national assembly the Speaker cannot ward off the invitation of the Police and the EFCC to react to the criminal allegations leveled against him by Honourable Abdulmumin Jibril.

The Speaker ensured that Honourable Jibril was removed as the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee of the House when it was confirmed by the House that he had allocated projects worth N4 billion to his constituency. The House kicked against Jibril on …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper