The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is probing 25 members of the House of Representatives over alleged N90billion botched budget padding.
The anti-graft agency has forwarded the names of the affected lawmakers to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) so as to retrieve their assets declaration forms.
This brings to 41, the number of suspects under EFCC’s investigation for budget padding.
The commission had interrogated 16 directors of finance and account of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies(MDAs).
The suspended former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin had sent a petition to the EFCC on the alleged padding of the 2016 budget by Speaker Yakubu Dogara and some principal officers.
The others are Deputy Speaker Yusuff Lasun; Chief Whip Ado-Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and some chairmen of committees.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that after preliminary investigation, the EFCC has isolated 25 members of the House of Representatives for questioning.
In preparation for the grilling, the EFCC wrote the Code of Conduct Bureau on the assets declared by the lawmakers.
A source in the CCB said: “We have received a request for the asset dossiers of 25 members of the House who are being investigated in connection with budget padding.
“Our department in charge of assets declaration is working on the information needed. But we will not release the list of the 25 members of the House until the assignment is completed.
“The only challenge we have is the fact that the EFCC’s demand has put pressure on CCB because of the leakage of the information to some members of the House.”
It was however learnt that the CCB has shifted its ongoing verification of the assets of the 25 Representatives to a secret location in Abuja to stave off pressure. “Some House members have infiltrated the CCB and this is hindering our work. But we will try our best to collaborate with EFCC.”
Jibrin had alleged injection of about N90billion personal projects into the 2016 budget by some principal officers.
He also alleged that the Speaker and the affected principal officers met to demand the N40billion worth of projects in addition to about N20billion wasteful projects which they allocated to their constituencies.
He accused the Speaker of seeking N30billion personal requests with three other officers.
An EFCC source said: “On the 2016 Budget in particular, preliminary investigation has established that some principal officers and committee chairmen inserted personal projects into the budget apart from the official projections by the Executive.”
It was learnt that the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) , which had an audience with Jibrin, recommended a thorough probe of his petition.
A Special Investigative Panel (SIP) of the Police, headed by AIG Amodu Ali is also looking into Jibrin’s allegations.
The SIP has sent a letter to the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Mr. Mohammed Sani Omolori to make the 2016 Budget approved by the lawmakers available to it.
Also, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has filed an application at the Federal High Court, Abuja seeking an order of mandamus to compel the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the allegations of padding levelled against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and three others.