The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said that the House of Representatives members who were involved in the 2016 Budget padding scandal will not go unpunished. The commission made the promise through its Deputy Director, Operations in Lagos, Iliyasu Kwarbai on Monday. Kwarbai had been addressing a coalition of over 30 civil society organisations that had protested against the budget padding scandal in the lower chambers of the National Assembly.
"We are already in receipt of petitions from some other members of the public and the investigation is being done in Abuja. When petitions are received, we look at them, make some analyses, and commence investigation.
"We do what we call preliminary investigation without inviting the accused persons. We carry out some investigations and gather some facts to ascertain the truthfulness of that petition. When we find them culpable, then, we go into inviting the accused persons.
"What we are doing is to look at the case since we have already received some of the petitions; our men are already on the ground, carrying out very thorough investigations. So don’t be in doubt; the EFCC cannot be cowed. Anybody involved in corruption, no matter how highly placed, we don’t cover any person at all.
"Once we receive your petition, once it is being investigated, once you are indicted, definitely, we go into inviting you. Definitely, whoever is involved in the issue of budget padding will never go free," he said.
The former Chairman, Committee on Appropriation of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, had, earlier on 21 July, accused Dogara; Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, of padding the budget by over N40bn. Jibrin, whom the principal officers said was sacked for "abusing" the 2016 budget, had recently alleged that other principal officers of the House, including himself, had illegally collected about N10bn between 2003 and 2015.