• SSS Seal Appropriation Committee Secretariat
• Committee Clerk Says All Records Intact, Safe
Revelations, detailing how the embattled former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Dr. Abdulmumini Jibrin, facilitated the award of projects under the 2014 Budget to fictitious companies from Kano State made the rounds yesterday in Abuja.
There has been an unveiling of some of the “dirty deal” around the 2016 budget, with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and three other leaders (Deputy Speaker Lasun Yusuf, Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor) being accused of involvement in padding the budget by Jibrin, who has said he got inspired after prayers to reveal the deals that have surrounded budget preparation in the National Assembly.
At least 100 members have called for independent investigations to get to the root of the flying allegations.Knowledgeable sources in the House of Representatives, yesterday, gave details of the projects Jibrin had a less-than-holy hand in, which they hinted will be brought before the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) by a group being put forward for that purpose.
“While serving as House committee chairman on finance he padded the budget with projects domiciled under the National Commission For Refugees Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons and other agencies. By September, exactly on 26th September 2014, the Agency in one single day awarded out all those projects to front companies provided by Hon Jibrin Abdulmumin and stupidly copied him in each of the 10 award letters. “The fictitious nature of the contracts can even without investigation be seen on the body of the letter. Each of the 10 contracts was awarded to Kano State, no name of the location where this contract is going, the people who are going to receive it, neither the name of the constituency for where the project will be executed. Just awarded to kano and hon member of Bebeji constituency, which is Jibrin’s, was copied.
“What is his relationship to the project? Also the 10 contracts were given an execution time frame of two weeks. Meaning that they have no plan of doing the work. What happened in NCFR is the same thing that happened to all the agencies domiciled in the 2014 fake constituency projects including Ja’mare river basin development authority.
Meanwhile, personnel of the State Security Service (SSS), have sealed the Secretariat of the House of Representatives’ committee on Appropriation.The Guardian sighted an unidentified official of the security outfit well positioned to ensure that nobody gained access to the committee office.Effort by the clerk of the committee, Mr. Abel Ochigbo and some of his Secretariat staff to access the committee room at 4. 30 pm yesterday, proved abortive as the security personnel insisted he was under instruction to do so.
Ochigbo, told journalists he was shocked at the presence of the security personnel in his office. He however faulted media report that computers and critical documents were missing from the secretariat.
“Nothing is wrong with the secretariat, everything is intact. The thinking is that the status quo should be maintained. Of course I can’t instruct them to open the doors by force. So please bear with us because instead of keeping you here, I feel I should make this statement. They are safeguarding the office. I believe they are staff of the sergeant at arms, he said.”
Ochigbo had in a letter to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Mr. Sani Omolori, gave the secretariat a clean bill of health saying: “I write to confirm that the committee secretariat is in tact and has not been threatened in any way. All records are also intact and safe. Both hardware and software, in addition, our archival set up is properly kept and in order.”.
“Furthermore, no staff in the secretariat of the committee has been subjected to any form of threat, intimidation or harassment from any quarter whatsoever. Any such reports along the lines of the above allegations should therefore be totally disregarded.” Earlier, the new chairman of House committee on Appropriation, Mustapha Dawaki who addressed reporters reinforced Ochigbo’s position that all documents, including computers and facilities at the committee’s secretariat were in tact.
He said; “Once these projects are passed in the budget, (this member) will approach the agency and get the agency to give his front companies award letter and a short execution time, the companies will be given a letter of completion immediately which is to be dated within the usual 2 weeks deadline and the cheques will be written in the name of the companies and copied to (him) also. So tracking some of the job becomes difficult because who and where will you look for the job because it was awarded to no specific location or person, they just say awarded to Kano State.The embattled former Appropriation Committee Chair, Jibrin was not available to respond to these fresh allegations. Efforts made to reach him were not successful.