Budget padding is corruption-SERAP replies Dogara | Omogs Blog

Monday, 8 August 2016

Budget padding is corruption-SERAP replies Dogara

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, on Sunday criticised the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, for saying that budget padding is not a crime under the Nigerian law.
"The truth about the alleged budget padding and abuse of office cannot be kept from the public, and treated as an internal matter or a case of see no evil, speak no evil,"It would be recalled that former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, had on July 21, accused the Speaker, his deputy, Yusuf Lasun; Chief Whip,Alhassan Ado Danguwa and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor of attempting to illegally insert over N40bn into the 2016 budget."

Responding to the accusations, Dogara had last week claimed that budget padding under the Nigerian law was not a crime.

The Speaker had made the remark after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa, Abuja.

However, SERAP, while faulting Dogara’s comment maintained that budget padding is "corruption."
SERAP in a statement by its Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni said;
 "Budget padding in fact is corruption, as it is implicit in corruption offences such as abuse of office, attempt to embezzle, divert, and misappropriate public funds, conspiracy to act corruptly, and illicit enrichment, which are recognized under the UN Convention against Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party, and included in national legislation such as the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act and the Fiscal Responsibility Act."
  "The allegations against Mr Dogara and other principal officials of the House of Representatives also suggest a subversion of the budget process, which in itself is a crime but also a fundamental breach of constitutional provisions and an affront to internationally recognized human rights."
 "A prima-facie case of corruption is established when elected officials are allegedly influenced to act contrary to their obligations of office by the prospect of financial gain to themselves. Budget padding also amounts to corruption as the action is against the public interest. Any appearance of corruption in the budget process can result in a cynical public to losing interest in political participation altogether. And democracy can’t work unless Nigerians have faith in those who govern."
 "If Mr Dogara refuses to resign to allow for effective and transparent investigation and the allegations of budget padding are swept under the carpet, the ability of the House of Representatives to function as a watchdog and credible guardian of the public interest would be seriously compromised."
 The group called on the Speaker to explain to Nigerians the role he played in the alleged budget padding in the House and abuse of office if the growing perception of corruption in the House is to be addressed.
"Nigerians would like Mr Dogara to explain how the funds meant for legislative functions to service guest houses were spent. Nigerians would also like Mr Dogara to explain allegations that favours were sought from multinational companies including the allegation that a construction company was compelled to carry out some work at his Asokoro 'plot'
  "The truth about the alleged budget padding and abuse of office cannot be kept from the public, and treated as an internal matter or a case of see no evil, speak no evil."

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