Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
There are indications that the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Police Affairs are set to re-open investigations into allegations of the misappropriation of N7.2 billion in the 2016 budget by the Inspector General of Police (IG), Mr. Ibrahim Idris.
The House committee had begun the investigations last January with Idris appearing behind closed doors, but would now be joined by the Senate Committee on Police Affairs. Idris had however appeared before the committee after shunning its invitation three times, prompting the House at plenary to threaten to issue a warrant for his arrest.
Idris is accused of misappropriating the sum of N6 billion which was appropriated for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of 102 police stations to other uses without approval from the National Assembly. He is also being investigated for using N1.2 billion approved for the purchase of 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), for the purchase of 64 Toyota Hiace commuter vehicles.
The expenditure constitutes criminal offences as they were done without virement, indicating contravention of the Appropriation Act, Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 and the Public Procurement Act 2007.
The investigation had been stalled as relevant committees and lawmakers got busy with the budgetary process towards the passage of the 2017 budget, initially scheduled for March 2017.
It would however continue now that the committees are done with their work on the budget.
A member of the Police Affairs Committee who spoke with THISDAY off record, noted that the joint committees would revisit the matter due to its gravity.
â€œWeâ€™ll re-examine the issue to ensure proper utilisation of funds. As a parliament, we frown on any kind of diversion or misapplication of appropriated funds without recourse to the National Assembly. In fact, it is an impeachable offence. Virement was requested by the president let alone an IG,â€ he said.
Another lawmaker said it was merely a coincidence that the probe is being revisited after the raid by the police on the Abuja home of the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje.
â€œIt is just a coincidence. We are yet to conclude the probe, it was stalled because of the budget. Now we are about to continue, so it is not fair to say it is because of the raid. We are just doing our job, which we were elected to do,â€ he said.
THISDAY had reported last week that Idris was forced to return the documents and items seized from Gojeâ€™s house, after he was confronted with details of the misappropriation under his leadership.
The Chairman of the House Committee, Hon. Halliru Dauda Jika (Bauchi APC), confirmed that the investigations would continue, but declined further comment on the investigation.