Advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has asked the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to compel theEconomic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to begin investigations levelled against Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers.
The principal officers were accused of padding the 2016 budget by Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin to the tune of N40bn through mindless insertions into the document.
The group had requested the EFCC to investigate the matter in July.
The suit with number FHC/ABJ/CS/733/16 dated September 15, 2016 was filed by its SolicitorFemi Falana (SAN).
The suit said the EFCC should “investigate and prosecute allegations of budget padding and abuse of office leveled against the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hassan Ado Doguwa.
“This suit was borne out of the fact that it is the statutory responsibility of the EFCC to investigate and prosecute financial crimes in Nigeria. Unless the reliefs sought by SERAP are granted, the EFCC will not investigate the Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hassan Ado for grave financial and economic crimes.
“This matter is presently generating a lot of public concern and discourse and is presently in the front burner of national discourse thus germane to Nigerians. By the nature of the case, it ought to be heard urgently. It is in the interest of justice to hear this matter expeditiously.
“The Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara as well as the Deputy Speaker, Yussuf Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Hassan Ado are not immune from investigation under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, even though the Hon. Speaker Hon. Yakubu Dogara has been talking tough saying that the EFCC cannot investigate him.
“In the petition to the EFCC, SERAP requested for investigation into the following allegations of grave economic and financial crimes: the approval of N40 Billion for principal officers of the House of Representatives out of the N100 Billion approved for members of the House of Representatives for constituency project; the running of the finances of the House by the Speaker like his personal estate; and the diversion of millions of naira in the name of paying for guest houses and official residence.
“Other allegations of economic and financial crimes include: soliciting for inappropriate favors from agencies and multi-national companies; compelling an agency to grant loans; blackmailing a construction company to do some work at the Speaker’s Asokoro, Abuja plot; and designing a scheme to scam members of the House through deductions from their salaries for supposed mortgage arrangements.
“The allegations leveled against the leaders of the House of Representatives are despicable to the highest degree. These leaders must not be allowed to run away from justice. The Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 has provided these accountability channels and has gone further with a provision giving every Nigerian a standing to seek the enforcement of the provisions of the Act in court as provided in Section 51 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.”