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Senate: National Assembly panels will probe ‘missing N4.4 billion’

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President Dr Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of House of Representatives Mr Femi Gbajabiamila to “use their good offices to urgently probe and refer to appropriate anti-corruption agencies allegations that N4.4 billion of public money budgeted for the National Assembly is missing, misappropriated, diverted or stolen, as documented in three audited reports by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.”

The Senate said the National Assembly Committees on Public Account would probe the allegation of misappropriation of N4.4bn by the federal parliament, as contained in an audit report.

The Deputy Director of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Kolawole Oluwadare, had in a statement alleged that an audit report revealed that the fund budgeted for the National Assembly, was misappropriated.

SERAP has therefore given Messrs Ahmad Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila, President of the Senate and Speaker, House of Representatives, respectively, 14 days ultimatum to address and implement the recommendations contained in the audit reports.

But the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Ajibola Basiru, in his reaction said the alleged infractions occurred during the 8th National Assembly, and not in the 9th National Assembly.

He said, “This clarification is important as the wordings of the petition are capable of misleading the general public that SERAP is talking about the present National Assembly.

“It is not about any malfeasance by the current Assembly and its leadership as it is presently constituted, far from it”.

Basiru, therefore, asked SERAP to channel its petition to the Committee on Public Account of both chambers of the National Assembly for necessary action.

He said, “The proper channels to send the petitions is the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Public Account if the real motive is genuinely to investigate the alleged corruption.”

The Senator assured SERAP that if it diligently pursued its petition, the relevant committees of the two chambers would look into it.

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