Budget Padding: Court fixes hearing Feb. 20

A Federal High Court in Kano on Wednesday, fixed Feb. 20, for hearing in the case against the Clerk and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara over the suspension of Abdulmumini Jibril.

Some constituents of Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency sued the Clerk and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, challenging the legality of suspending their member, Jibril.

The counsel for the plaintiff, Mr Bashir Muqaddam had earlier applied for a date to enable him respond to the issues raised in the preliminary objection filed by the defense counsel.

According to him, the defense counsel wanted the consolidation of the two suits – the one filed by the constituency in Kano and the other filed by Jibril in Abuja.

Counsel for the defense, Mr Kalu Onuha said he had no objection to the application for adjournment.

The presiding Judge, Justice Sulaiman Akoko, said in the absence of objection to the application for adjournment, the case would come up again for hearing on Feb. 20.

Muqaddam, the counsel to the plaintiffs, told newsmen after the sitting “when the case resumes on Feb. 20, we are going to argue on the issue of consolidation as raised by the defense counsel.”

Security was tight as hundreds of protesters thronged the court with placards shouting ‘bring back our member and compensate him’.

Recall that Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin was on September 28, 2016, suspended for 180 legislative days.

His suspension followed the adoption of the recommendations of the Nicholas Ossai-led Ethics and Privileges Committee.

The report of the committee was adopted on Wednesday after it was thoroughly debated on the floor.

Speaker Yakubu Dogara did not preside on the matter because he was one of those alleged by Jubrin for padding the 2016 budget.

The four recommendations were adopted at the Committee of the Whole House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun.

Jibrin had alleged that Dogara, Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa, Minority leader Leo Ogor and nine committee chairmen illegally inserted fictitious projects into the 2016 Budget.

Jibrin was accused of bringing the House into disrepute with his utterances and action over the scandal.

Recall that the budget had been a subject of controversy with Executive accusing the National Assembly of tinkering with the original document submitted by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

Initially the both arms of the Assembly denied the allegation after rejected the approved appropriation bill.

He represented the bill to the National Assembly and in the process of cross checking, it was discovered that some items were removed.

The House of Representatives committee was found to have built in constituency projects and alter some main projects of the executive.

In the process of investigation, Jubrin was found to be the arrowhead of the fraud, but he roped in Dogara as a culprit and went ahead to rubbish the Speaker with more allegations.    NAN Reports


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