EFCC DSS MAY CLASH OVER BUDGET PADDING PROBE AS BOTH BODIES CLAIM ITS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY

The police, the Department of State Services and other Federal Government security agencies are on collision course over a petition submitted to them by a former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Jubrin had, in the petition also submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, accused the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, three principal officers and eight committee chairmen of padding the 2016 budget to the tune of N480bn.

The three principal officers accused by Jubrin are the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun; the House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor.DSS
It was learnt on Wednesday that each of the agencies had insisted that it would conduct independent investigation into the allegations.

It was gathered that the EFCC had expected the other agencies to refer the petition to it to prevent duplication of efforts.

The DSS had on Saturday sealed the office of House Committee on Appropriation, an action sources said was part of measures to prevent those involved in the padding from tampering with evidence.

A top security officer, who confided in The PUNCH, said, “There are indications that each of the agencies is conducting its investigation and there is no way they will not clash.”

The Force Public Relations Officer, Donald Awunah, said the police would investigate Jubrin’s petition.

He said the fact that the petition was submitted to other agencies would not stop the police from acting on it.

Awunah said, “The IG will take the necessary action.”

Asked to clarify what this meant, the spokesman explained that the police would conduct their investigation into the allegations in the petition.

When reminded that three other agencies had also received the same petition, an action that could result in duplication of effort, Awunah said he could not speak for other agencies, adding that the police would treat the case in accordance with their mandate.

He said, “I cannot speak for other organisations; every organisation has its own laws governing it. They are at liberty to do what is expected of them in accordance with their laws. The police would carry out investigation into the allegations in accordance with our mandate.”

An investigating team set up by the Inspector -General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, on Tuesday met with Jibrin.

The team, led by an Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Amodu Ali, had earlier invited Dogara and three other principal officers for interrogation.

Efforts to get the spokesman for the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, did not succeed as calls to his mobile phone did not go through, but he had on Monday confirmed that Jubrin had submitted his petition to the commission.

“I understand that a petition has been submitted; like any other petition, we will look into it,” he had said.

A competent source in the DSS told The PUNCH that the department had begun its investigation.

“Our investigation is different. As you are aware, we have sealed the appropriation committee’s office. We are ahead of others in our investigation,” the source said.

The spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okuwa, said she could not comment on enforcement matters

Jubrin had on his twitter handle on Monday wrote, “The case against Dogara and others included corrupt enrichment, abuse of office and breach of public trust.”

Security experts said Jibrin’s decision to submit the petition to all security agencies might result in unhealthy rivalry among the services which might hamper the investigations.

They added that if the investigation into Jibrin’s petition was not properly streamlined and handled by one agency, the probe might be muddled up and compromised.

A security analyst, Ben Okezie, said there should not be any controversy over the investigation, noting that the Attorney-General of the Federation could also direct a particular agency to investigate the petition.

“This is a case for those who investigate criminality; DSS don’t investigate criminal issues, DSS sniff out information to give to the police, the military and other agencies. They are supposed to give such information or intelligence to the office of the National Security Adviser as the clearing house.

“It happened at the height of the Boko Haram insurgency when the DSS and the police were competing with each other over which agency should handle insurgency matters until they brought them under the National Orientation Agency, they then started speaking with one voice,” he said.

A retired Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, also said it was the responsibility of the police to investigate the allegations, noting that the special fraud unit was well equipped to probe Jibrin’s petition.

He cautioned security agencies against struggling with themselves to probe the petition, noting that they should rather support the police with additional information on the petition.

He said, “Instead of the agencies struggling to investigate the allegations, I believe they should allow the police to handle the case.

“The agencies should not engage in superiority contest, because they are working towards the same goal. Whatever information the other agencies have should be given to the police. If the police, the EFCC, the ICPC and the DSS are all investigating the case; when they get to court, they will fail.”

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