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Reps probe alleged 2021 budget padding, job racketeering in MDAs

The House of Representatives Thursday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations of projects duplications in the...

The House of Representatives Thursday resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations of projects duplications in the 2021 budget and illegal recruitments by ministries departments and agencies.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission had on Tuesday said 257 projects worth over N20bn were duplicated in the 2021 budget. 

The House of Representatives yesterday resolved that its committees on anti-corruption and public service form the ad-hoc committee which will be set up on Tuesday next week.

The two committees are also to investigate nominal rolls, payroll padding and fake employment in all MDAs.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau) who said corrupt practices had diverted the country’s revenue meant to be channeled into economic development and capital projects.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila said if the allegations by the ICPC were true, that suggested that the standing committees had not properly scrutinized the 2021 budget and therefore should not be charged with the investigation as suggested by the minority leader.

“The 2021 budget which we passed. You are asking the committees to do the work they ought to have done? Do you realise it is an indictment on our committees?

“If for a fact, 257 projects were duplicated, then we have not done our job thoroughly. I am not sure that the job should be done by the committees who dropped the balls in the first instance. I think this job should be done by an ad-hoc committee,” the speaker said.

He said the committee could get a copy of the report on duplicated projects from the ICPC to verify the allegations.

The House also adopted a motion by Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), for an amendment for the ad-hoc committee to investigate all employment waivers granted by the Office of Head of Service in the last two years when an embargo was in place.