EFCC Probes N60bn ‘Budget Padding’ Vote For Senators, Reps… Ask NASS To Explain Why Omisore Got N2.5bn
Detectives have recovered a sensitive document from Otunba Iyiola Omisore’s Abuja home.
The document shows how N60billion was voted for extraneous overhead expenses for some senators and members of the House of Representatives in the Sixth Assembly, according to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission( EFCC) sources.
Omisore, former deputy governor of Osun State, was the chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee between 2007 and 2011.
The anti- graft agency is probing the document to identify the senators and members of the House of Representatives who got the largesse.
A source, who spoke in confidence, said when detectives went to search the Abuja home of the ex-deputy governor, they stumbled on the “budget padding” document in his bedroom.
The source said a sober Omisore joined issues with the EFCC operatives, asking why they were interested in the document.
The source said: “In the course of searching Omisore’s residence at 1, Kainji Crescent in Maitama, Abuja, we stumbled on a document on budget padding worth about N60billion for some Senators and House of Representatives.
“Immediately we picked the document, Omisore was a bit concerned. He asked our operatives to limit their investigation to only the N1.310billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) but we insisted that we are interested in the document.
“It contained a list of budget padding of about N60billion and how it was spread for some Senators and members of the House of Representatives from 2007 and 2011.
“A crack team is already looking into the details of the padding of the budget and the affected Senators and Representatives.
“Certainly, as a former chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, we expect him to speak on the document.
“The fact that Omisore proved difficult before we arrested him has actually paid off for EFCC. His stubbornness has assisted in opening new investigation frontiers. If he had honoured our invitation as a gentleman, we might not have been able to get these new areas of investigation.”
To get to the root of the matter, the EFCC has written to the management of the National Assembly to explain why it paid N2.5billion to Omisore.
The letter followed the discovery of the strange remittance in Omisore’s account by the management when he was a serving senator.
But the management, in a response to the EFCC signed by a top official, said Omisore was not awarded any contract or engaged for any service to have warranted such a payment.
In a follow-up letter, the anti-graft agency mandated the management to be more “forthcoming on what the N2.5billion was meant for to have earned remittance into the account of the ex-deputy governor”.
The NASS bureaucracy has up till the end of this week to clarify the “purpose of such a huge payment” to an individual.
There were indications that the commission may quiz two former National Assembly and Senate Clarks as well as and some management members of staff in the Finance Department, including directors.
According to EFCC findings, the strange payment of N2.5billion was discovered during the screening of Omisore’s transactions in the course of investigating a N1.310billion illegally allocated to Omisore and three companies by the ONSA.
The source added: “We were able to detect that the sum in question was transferred from the Skye Bank account of the National Assembly to Omisore’s account.
“We got a letter from the management that Omisore did not at any time execute any contract for the National Assembly or offer any service to be able to earn such a payment.
“We have written another letter to the management to explain why the money was paid to Omisore. We want those in the relevant desk behind the payment to guide the EFCC accordingly.
“We are expecting a detailed response from the management of the National Assembly, including vouchers for the payment and authorisation. Once we get their response, we will invite those connected with it.
The source explained: “This was why we secured a court warrant to detain Omisore to get to the roots of this latest payment.”
After about three months of hide and seek, the EFCC arrested Omisore in Abuja for alleged N1.310billion ONSA slush funds traced to him and three companies.
According to a report by the EFCC, the funds were remitted as follows: Fimex Gilt Limited (N160m)-8/8/2014in UBA; Metropolitan Consortium (N350m)—9/7/14 in First Bank; Sawanara (N300m)—1/8/14 in First Bank and Metropolitan Consortium (N350m)-1/8/14 in First Bank.