Reps to investigate N20 billion duplicated projects in 2021 budget

The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate allegations of duplication of projects, worth N20.138 billion, in the 2021 budget.

The House resolved to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the allegation by the Chairman of the Independent and Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Bolaji Owasanoye, that 257 projects were duplicated in the 2021 budget.

The anti-graft chief had said ICPC discovered the duplicated projects while investigating the 2021 budget.

ICPC Head Office
ICPC Head Office

This resolution was the outcome of a motion moved Thursday by Dachung Bagos (PDP, Plateau) during plenary.

Mr Bagos, in his motion, accused all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of high-level corruption bordering on payroll padding and retention of ‘ghost workers.’

He also called for an investigation into the nominal rolls of all MDAs in the country.

The minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta), moved that the standing committees of the House should investigate the allegation.

Reacting to the submission by the Minority Leader, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the accusation by the ICPC is an indictment of the House Committees that scrutinized the 2021 budget.

He stated that if the allegations by the ICPC are true, then the standing committees should not be charged with the investigation.

“The 2021 budget which we passed, you (Mr Elumelu) are asking the committees to do the work they ought to have done? You do 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.”

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila [PHOTO CREDIT: @FemiGbajabiamila]
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila [PHOTO CREDIT: @FemiGbajabiamila]

Mr Gbajabiamila said the committee can approach the ICPC and get a copy of the report on duplicated projects, to verify the claim.

On the nominal rolls, the House resolved that the Committees on Anti-Corruption and Public Service should investigate nominal rolls, payroll padding, and fake employment in all MDAs.

In addition, the deputy minority leader, Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu), moved an amendment that the committee should investigate all employment waivers granted by the Office of Head of Service.

The motion as amended was approved when it was put to question by the Speaker.

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