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Reps suspend budget defence by EFCC, insist on transparency

By Babs Odukoya   |   21 December 2009   |   8:18 pm  

“Quarterly reports reflecting your periodic activities including achievements and constraints (normally submitted every three months) have not been submitted to this committee by the commission in the past 18 months.

“Report on budget performance for the current year (2009) has never been written to the committee even though the committee overlooked this dereliction in respect of the 2008 budget exercise.

“It is evident that due to the above, the committee has not been able to fully and satisfactorily discharge its constitutional oversight functions on EFCC”, the letter stated.

The lawmakers said that Waziri has rebuffed all letters written to the commission requesting the submission of the said documents.

The EFCC (Establishment) Act of 2004 states that “The commission shall, not later than September 30 in each year, submit to the National Assembly, a report of its activities during the immediately preceding year and shall include in such report the audited accounts of the commission”.

A source disclosed that the lawmakers had considered inviting the EFCC last Wednesday but some of the members objected, preferring to write the EFCC informing it of their displeasure.

Specifically, they said that “it must comply with laid down constitutional provisions, procedure and decorum, as well as respect for the committee and institution of the House of Representatives”.

Some members, it was learnt, questioned the EFCC’s reason for sending Christmas hampers to them, when it did not deem it fit to submit the reports to the National Assembly as demanded by law.

A member of the committee said: “This is an irony, we have been writing the EFCC to submit its report to us but we’ve never received such reports. But just last week, the EFCC sent to us Christmas hampers. What for? Where is the transparency if EFCC is sending out hampers?”

The lawmaker explained that he has been a member of the committee in the past five years and that “Nuhu Ribadu, when he was chairman of the commission, had never send hampers to us and I never heard that they have collected hampers from anybody”.

He said that they have resolved to return the said hampers to the EFCC, pointing out that “The chairman (Rabe Nasir) has instructed that the hampers should be returned.

It is not hampers that we need but let them reply our letters and submit what we have demanded”.

In the letter written to the EFCC, the committee also resolved that “The commission must reply the committee’s communications, as well as submit all previous and present quarterly reports of budget performance of the current Appropriation Law like all the ministries, departments and agencies in this country have been doing.

“This is a prelude to facilitate verifications on how appropriated and subsequently released public funds are utilised by the commission”, the lawmakers said.



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