Investigation in the budget padding scandal that has rocked the house of Representatives has begun in earnest as the Police have received three versions of the budget from ousted House of Representatives Appropriations Committee chairman Abdulmumin Jibrin.
According to The Nation, The Special Investigation Panel (SIP) has started sieving the documents to isolate the padded areas.
Jibrin set the ball rolling petitioning the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-graft agencies and alleging the padding of Budget 2016 by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuff Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and nine others.
He also had a two-hour session with the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Amodu Ali-led SIP and may be called upon again to give testimony.
According to the Nation a source said:
“The search for padded areas by the panel has started. As at Monday (yesterday), the panel was in receipt of three versions of the 2016 Budget.
“These versions are the original copy laid before the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, the version passed by the National Assembly but rejected by the President due to omission of some key projects, such as the N60billion Calabar-Lagos rail project; and the harmonised copy.
“With the retrieval of these budget versions, detectives have started identifying padded areas by the House members.
“After locating these padded areas, the SIP will be able to determine the focus of interrogation and the list of those to be questioned alongside the 13 already implicated by Jibrin.”
The source added, “The SIP may interact with all members of the House Committee on Appropriations and some chairmen of committees.
“We are also monitoring every claim by members in the media to guide our investigation.”
Talking about Jubrin’s session with the SIP, the source added, “Jibrin brought additional documents to support his allegations. What he did was to support every allegation with proof and the sources where he got all the documents. He is trying to prove his case that the padding was criminal.
“We have requested him for additional facts. So, Jibrin could be with us tomorrow (today) or Wednesday. We have told him additional things to bring as part of our preliminary investigation.
“We will invite Dogara and the others after we are done with Jibrin, a source said
he added: “As the investigation progresses, we will inform the public. This is an investigation that will stand the test of time.
“ The nation should at the end of the day put an end to the culture of padding. We will be fair to all who will appear before the SIP.”