(By Kemi Yesufu – ABUJA)
The budget padding scandal in the House of Representatives took a different twist Monday as embattled former chairman of the Committee on Appropriations Abdulmumin Jibrin received hash criticism on Twitter from Nigerians over reports that he operates a foreign account in contravention of the law.
Trouble started on Twitter, when popular Nigerian activist Kayode Ogundamisi asked the lawmaker for clarification on documents linking him to a foreign account, including the ownership of a property which was used as the address on the account and he replied demanding to know what former would do following the revelation.
Jibrin tweeted at Ogundamisi, “Oga now that you have found out that I own the property, what’s next”, but when negative reactions started pouring in, the lawmaker denied having any link to the account, saying, “I urge the public to disregard this latest blackmail as the document in circulation is not worth a toilet paper”.
The lawmaker also accused Speaker Yakubu Dogara of sponsoring what he described as propaganda against him through his Deputy Chief of Staff, C.I.D Maduabum, adding he has directed his lawyers to report the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the police.
The Speaker’s aide has since denied any connections to NYCN’s allegations, saying, “I formally deny these allegations and denounce it as the hallucinations of deranged psychopath”.
Paragraph 3, Part one of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of Nigeria 1999, provides that, “The President, Vice President, .. Members of the National Assembly and Houses of Assembly of States and such other public officers or persons as the National Assembly May by law prescribe. Shall not maintain or operate a bank account in any country outside Nigeria “
Paragraph 18 of same Schedule provides to the effect that where the code of conduct Tribunal finds a public officer guilty of contravention of any provision of the code of conduct the punishments to be imposed include, vacation of office or seat, disqualification from membership of a legislative house, seizure of forfeiture of assets or property being proceeds of such corruption and prosecution in addition to the above sanctions where the conduct constitutes a crime.
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) had alleged on Sunday that Jibrin owns and operates a foreign account with ING Bank Channels Island, United Kingdom.
According to the Council’s Head of the Anti Coruption Unit, Ifeanyi Okonkwo, the bank which Jibrin operates an account is located at Forum House, Grenville Street, St-Heller, Jerssy JE2 4UF, Channels Island United Kingdom.
Okonkwo further alleged that the lawmaker opened the account with his address at 453 Crankbrook Road, Ilford Essex IG2 6EW. He said details of the account statement obtained by some lawyers in the UK indicates that Jibrin has a total £1.558 million pounds (N825 million equivalent) in the account between June 1st 2016 to June 30 2016.
Jibrin, however, withdrew the sum of £623.44 pounds within the one month period bringing the balance in the account to £1.376,193.84 British pounds.