- May be quizzed by EFCC
- Reps summon CBN Gov, AGF
President Muhammadu Buhari’s resolve to deal with all those involved in padding the 2016 budget estimates has started claiming its first set of victims, as the sacked former Director General of the Budget Office, Alhaji Yahaya Gusau and two other Directors in the office have been placed under house arrest.
Also, three other Directors in the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning have been placed under house arrest by the Department of Security Service, DSS and operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC over their alleged role in the controversial padding of the 2016 appropriation document.
This is coming just as the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations yesterday invited the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun and her counterpart in the Budget and Planning, Udoma Udo Ndoma, in respect to the padding of the 2016 Appropriation Bill.
Others invited by the committee are: the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, Accountant-General of the Federation, AGF and the Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin who gave the directive explained that grey areas relating to alleged infractions and padding observed by various standing committees during the interface with the ministers and heads of departments and agencies would be addressed.
Similarly, Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara directed chairmen of all the standing committees to submit and defend their MDAs’ budget within 24 hours or risk zero budget for 2016.
Out of the 97 standing committees inaugurated by the speaker, only 15 have so far submitted and defended their budgets before the Appropriations Committee, it was gathered.
Nigerian Pilot recalls that, following the infractions observed in the budget estimates, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the appointment of Tijani Abdullahi as the new Director-General in charge of the Budget Office of the Federation.
A highly placed source at the EFCC yesterday told Nigerian Pilot that a joint team of DSS and EFCC operatives have laid siege on the official residence of the affected public servants in order to prevent them from absconding from the country.
According to the source, from interim investigations, the embattled former DG, Alhaji Gusau, the two directors in the Budget Office along with the three directors in the Ministry of Budget and Planning, allegedly conspiring with some MDAs, doctored the budget and collected unspecified huge sums of money.
He said that the former DG in the Budget Office has a case to answer before the operatives of the EFCC bordering on fraud, theft, conspiracy to steal and money laundering.
He added that the EFCC boss will be briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the findings of the investigations carried on so far on the budget padding as soon as he arrives from his trip to Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The source further added that the affected civil servants will be picked any moment from now by the operatives of the anti-graft agency as soon as the acting chairman of the commission, ACP Ibrahim Magu gives the go ahead.
He said, so far, those culpable in the budget scam are mostly civil servants and some few heads of parastatals in the various MDAs.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on Wednesday for the first time, commented on the “padding” of budget 2016, describing it as “embarrassing and disappointing” and vowed to punish those found guilty. He stated this while addressing Nigerians in Saudi Arabia.
The president was quoted by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina as saying: “The culprits will not go unpunished. I have been a military Governor, petroleum Minister, military Head of State and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund.
“Never have I heard the words “budget padding”. Our minister of Budget and National Planning did a great job with his team. The minister became almost half his size during the time, working night and day to get the budget ready; only for some people to pad it.
“What he gave us was not what was finally being debated. It is embarrassing and disappointing. We will not allow those who did it to go unpunished,” the president vowed.
The Director-General, Budget Office, Yahaya Gusau, was sacked over the alleged “padding.”
Buhari assured Nigerians that his administration would fulfil its campaign promises, particularly on security, unemployment and corruption.
He restated his zero-tolerance for corruption, stressing that the war against corruption is a monumental task that he will tackle successfully.
“We have zero-tolerance for corruption and other unethical practices. We will deal with anybody found wanting,” he reiterated.