Budget padding: SERAP asks court to compel EFCC to investigate Dogara, others

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Budget padding: Jibrin insists on Dogara’s resignation

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has filed a suit before an Abuja Federal High Court seeking an injunction that will compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to investigate all those involved in the alleged padding of the 2016 budget.

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Recall that former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, had accused Yakubu Dogara, his Deputy, Hon. Yussuff Lasun; the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hon. Hassan Ado Doguwa of allegedly inserting over N40bn into the 2016 budget.

However, all principal officers of the lower legislative chamber had denied the allegation.

But SERAP in its suit dated September 15, 2016 and filed by activist lawyer, Femi Falana said, “investigate and prosecute allegations of budget padding and abuse of office leveled against the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hassan Ado Doguwa.

“This suit was borne out of the fact that it is the statutory responsibility of the EFCC to investigate and prosecute financial crimes in Nigeria. Unless the reliefs sought by SERAP are granted, the EFCC will not investigate the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hassan Ado for grave financial and economic crimes.

“This matter is presently generating a lot of public concern and discourse and is presently in the front burner of national discourse thus germane to Nigerians. By the nature of the case, it ought to be heard urgently. It is in the interest of justice to hear this matter expeditiously.

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“The Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Yussuf Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hassan Ado are not immune from investigation under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, even though the Hon. Speaker Hon. Yakubu Dogara has been talking tough saying that the EFCC cannot investigate him.

“By virtue of Section 6 of the Economic and Fiancial Crimes Commission Act, 2004, the EFCC is statutorily empowered to investigate and prosecute economic and financial crimes committed in Nigeria. The EFCC has failed, and or refused to investigate allegations of budget padding and abuse of office leveled against the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hassan Ado Doguwa.

“By a letter dated 26th July, 2016, and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni the organization requested the EFCC to investigate allegations of budget padding and abuse of office leveled against the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Hon. Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yussuff Lasun; the Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hon. Hassan Ado.

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“In the petition to the EFCC, SERAP requested for investigation into the following allegations of grave economic and financial crimes: the approval of N40 Billion for principal officers of the House of Representatives out of the N100 Billion approved for members of the House of Representatives for constituency project; the running of the finances of the House by the Speaker like his personal estate; and the diversion of millions of naira in the name of paying for guest houses and official residence.

“Other allegations of economic and financial crimes include: soliciting for inappropriate favors from agencies and multi-national companies; compelling an agency to grant loans; blackmailing a construction company to do some work at the Speaker’s Asokoro, Abuja plot; and designing a scheme to scam members of the House through deductions from their salaries for supposed mortgage arrangements.”

“Section 46 of Act which is the interpretation Section in the defines “economic and financial crimes” to mean the “non-violent criminal and illicit activity committed with the objectives of earning wealth illegal either individually or in a group or organized manner thereby violating existing legislation governing the economic activities of government and its administration and includes any form of fraud, embezzlement, looting and any form of corrupt malpractices.

“Section 13 (1) (b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act empowers the General and Assets Investigation Unit of the Commission to arrest and apprehend perpetrators of economic and financial crimes. Mandamus lies to secure the performance of a public duty in the performance which the applicant has a sufficient legal interest. The must show that he has demanded the performance of the duty and that performance has been refused by the authority obliged to discharge it”

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“SERAP’s letter to EFCC contained mind blogging allegations of primitive accumulation of wealth by Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hassan Ado Doguwa.

“The heinous crime of fraud, diversion of public funds and unlawful enrichment leveled against Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hassan Ado Doguwa is a gross deprivation of the good people of Nigeria’s legitimate wealth and natural resources. The citizens of Nigeria have been deprived their natural wealth and these public officers in question should be investigated forthwith.

“The allegations leveled against the leaders of the House of Representatives are despicable to the highest degree. These leaders must not be allowed to run away from justice. The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 has provided these accountability channels and has gone further with a provision giving every Nigerian a standing to seek the enforcement of the provisions of the Act in court as provided in Section 51 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.”

5 thoughts on “Budget padding: SERAP asks court to compel EFCC to investigate Dogara, others

  1. SERAP is all about talk talk and more empty talk. They "SEE" and they "RAP"...all the time just RAPping nonsense! APC and Buhari's puppets!

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