Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
A former House of Representatives member, Hon. Yusuf Shitu Galambi, has described as false and unfounded the statement by the former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who alleged that members of the 7th National Assembly were given N17 billion by the Jonathan-led government before they passed the 2015 budget.
According to Okonjo-Iweala in her book â€˜Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlinesâ€™, the N17 billion was beside the National Assemblyâ€™s N150 billion annual â€˜standardâ€™ budget.
She said: â€œThe legislature was concerned largely about three thingsâ€”the size of its own budget; the nature and the size of the capital budget, particularly investment projects; and the number and geographical location of the projects.
But reacting to the claims, Galambi, who served as member of appropriation committees in 2015, described the statement as false and unfounded.
In an interview with reporters in Kano on Sunday, the former National Assembly member who represented Gwaram federal constituency in Jigawa State, said that the statement of the former minister was full of â€œoutright lies and falsehoods, and mischievous innuendoâ€.
â€œI was a member of the appropriation committee in 2015 and to my belief and knowledge, I am unaware of any single kobo given to any member during the said period to facilitate the passage of 2015 budget” he said.
He challenged the former minister to mention the name of persons she presented the bribe for the general public to be aware.
â€œI am optimistic that she knows the persons she presented the said money to. I also implore the financial graft agencies to wade in by questioning her over the allegation of corruption,” he said.
Galambi, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), vowed to sue her to court for defamation of character.
According to him, the allegation had portrayed the former minister as someone that promotes corruption in the country.
The lawmaker explained that: â€œIweala betrayed the trust reposed on her by promoting corruption in the country as she widely alleged in her book.â€
He also appealed to her to immediately tender an apology to Nigerians over her involvement in the promotion of corruption in the country while she was a minister.