Buhari to probe budget padding scandal, constituency projects

The Federal Government reacted yesterday to the budget padding row in the House of Representatives, promising to probe the allegation and other related cases over the years.

Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN) said the government would “take action” based on the probe outcome.

This indicates that the probe may be extended to the administrations of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Malami also said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari would probe executive and legislative conspiracy on constituency projects.

Malami, who spoke with our correspondent, said the government’s action on padding would lead to the blocking of fraudulent leakages.

He said: “We will investigate the executive and legislative conspiracy as it relates to constituency projects with a view to measuring the art of execution of the padded projects over the years

“In so doing, we will learn our lessons in the budget and its implementation as a law with the aim to prosecute infractions and block leakages inherent in the padding process.

“Action must naturally be taken in the interest of the nation for efficient utilisation of our commonwealth and blocking of fraudulent leakages.”

There were also indications yesterday that the government may resist pressure to dump the investigation of Jibrin’s petition against Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuff Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor others for the alleged padding.

It was gathered that some leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are pushing for a political solution to the matter but a government source said: “We are not aware of any political solution to the ongoing investigation of the padding of the 2016 Budget by the police.

“Some people no doubt are seeking political solution to the padding palaver but I think the government will want the law to take its course.

“The way the Speaker spoke at the Presidential Villa on Friday suggested that a political compromise was in the offing . But President Buhari made no commitment at all.”

The Special Investigation Panel (SIP) of the Police will today interact with Jibrin.

The lawmaker is expected to present more documents to the panel and begin his interaction with the five-man team.

A source said: “The panel has linked up with Jibrin, we are hopeful of a robust session with him on Monday (today).”