…As House Committee winds up proceedings, may recommend Jibrin’s suspension
The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges probing allegation of budget padding levelled against the leadership of the lower chamber of the National Assembly by former Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Tuesday rounded off its proceedings after it waited in vain to take evidence from the whistle-blower, Dr Jibrin.
The committee headed by Hon Nicholas Ossai while rounding off said that it would not wait till eternity for Jibrin since it had a time-frame to submit its report, adding that it would take Jibrin’s absence as lack of defence to write its report.
The position of the committee on Tuesday signalled that the committee might indict Jibrin in violation of the principle of natural justice and audi alteram partem (hearing from the other side)
Bar and Bench Watch reports that Jibrin had written a letter to Speaker Yakubu Dogara requesting him to dismantle the committee set up by the House of Representatives to look into the allegation he made against its leadership on the account that a court of competent jurisdiction was already seized of the facts of the case.
He had written the Speaker through his counsel and Lagos lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN).
Falana, in the letter had also threatened to commence a committal proceeding against the Speaker and the entire House should the committee go ahead to sit when both parties had already submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the court over the subject-matter.
Jibrin had also told the Chairman of the Committee, Hon Ossai that he would be willing to appear before the panel only if they would allow the press to cover the proceedings.
He said that Ossai though agreed to allow journalists cover the proceedings, he said the committee later made a u-turn, barring the press.
He said since the proceeding was meant to be held in secret, he said he would not be a party to it.
He stated this on Tuesday while addressing a press conference in his office at the National Assembly in Abuja.
He further accused the chairman of the committee of being “economical” with the truth when he denied receiving any letter from him stating his position on the agreements.
The former chairman therefore presented an acknowledged copy of a letter he had sent to the committee on the pendency of his case against the House on the subject-matter.
Mr. Jibrin consequently cautioned the committee to respect the court, noting that going ahead with the matter by the committee would amount to sub judice, which is a contempt of court, adding that his lawyer had written a letter to the committee to that effect.
It would be recalled that Mr. Jibrin, former Chairman of Appropriations in the House of Representatives, had made grievous allegations against Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and Chief Whip Alhassan Dogowa on their complicity in the insertion of fictitious items in the 2016 budget.
He had submitted petitions in respect of the allegations to the anti-graft agency and other relevant security agencies to investigate the matter.