Nigerian Speaker Denies Allegations of Corruption in 2016 Budget

  • Former Apporpriations chairman says $62 million was diverted
  • Dogara says state funds weren’t stolen or lost in budget

Yakubu Dogara, the speaker of Nigeria’s lower house in Parliament, denied a lawmaker’s accusation that he used the 2016 budget to benefit his constituency.

Abdulmumin Jibrin, former chairman of the House of Representatives appropriations committee, said on Lagos-based Channels Television on July 31 the speaker took part in redirecting more than 20 billion naira ($62.1 million) to benefit specific regions, including his own. On Aug. 1, on Twitter, Jibrin said he sent the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission a petition accusing Dogara and a dozen fellow lawmakers of misconduct.

Yakubu Dogara and Muhammadu Buhari

Photographer: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“There was no act of corruption by me during and/or after the preparation of the 2016 budget,” Dogara said Saturday in a Twitter post. No funds “belonging to Nigerians has been misappropriated, stolen or lost in this budget saga.”

In July, before Jibrin contacted the anti-graft agency, Dogara removed him as chairman of the committee amid allegations Jibrin allocated 4.1 billion naira to his constituency, ThisDay newspaper reported on July 20. Jibrin denied any wrongdoing.

President Muhammadu Buhari signed Nigeria’s record 6.1 trillion naira budget this year, ending about four months of haggling with lawmakers over spending plans to stimulate an economy reeling from falling crude prices and output.

The economy shrank 0.4 percent in the first quarter, and the International Monetary Fund forecast it will contract by 1.8 percent for the year. The delayed passage of the budget, as well as shortages of power and foreign exchange, will weigh on output, according to the IMF.

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