How Presidency Cabal Frustrated Budget-Padding Whistleblower, Jibrin
By Sola SADIQ
The last may not have been heard on the budget padding scandal in the House of Representatives.
It would be recalled that the former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumuni Jubrin, had accused the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and four other principal officers including the deputy speaker, Lasun Yusuf and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, of allegedly padding the 2016 budget by several billions of naira, a charge they all denied.
Jubrin’s insistence on the veracity of his claim led to his suspension for six months after he was found guilty of “gross misconduct and bringing the reputation of the House into disrepute” by the Ethic and Privileges Committee of the House.
But before his suspension, Jubrin had also appeared before the Presidential Action Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) headed by Prof. Itse Sagay, during which he reportedly presented “damning evidence” against the speaker and others.
Sources disclosed that Dogara, worried that President Mohammadu Buhari could move against him, swiftly reached out to some influential aides of the president, including the Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who subsequently facilitated a meeting between him and the president.
Unconfirmed reports also have it that Dogara also held talks with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ibrahim Malami and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal.
However, a similar effort by Jubrin to seek audience with the president was allegedly frustrated by Kyari, who was said to have argued that it would be a breach of protocol for Jubrin, who is neither the speaker nor the House Leader, to meet the president on a strictly official matter.
These moves paid off for the speaker, as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was allegedly prevailed upon by some influential forces not to file charges against Dogara and the other lawmakers.
Jubrin, without the backing of the president, and having realised that he has been badly exposed, a situation that could compromise his security, decided to travel abroad pending the determination of the case he filed at a Federal High Court in Abuja, challenging his suspension by the House.