Embattled federal lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin, who recently returned to Nigeria said on Wednesday that he returned to assist anti-corruption agencies in their investigations of the 2016 budget ‘padding’ scandal in the House of Representatives.
The suspended lawmaker had been accused by a colleague, Herman Hembe, of sneaking into Nigeria from the United Kingdom because he is a subject of a corruption investigation by the authorities there.
Mr. Hembe, Chairman of House Committee on Federal Capital Territory, said in an email statement that “I understand that the suspended Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin has fled back to Nigeria after report of his ownership of five foreign accounts in Barclays Bank and property located at No. 81, Cotswold Gardens, London, NW2, 1PE in London was published.
“I wish to remind Jibrin that there is no longer hiding place for criminals.”
But the Kano lawmaker denied the allegations, saying he returned to Nigeria at the request of anti-corruption agencies investigating the budget scandal.
Citing numerous assassination attempts on his life, Mr. Jibrin departed Nigeria for London seven weeks ago and vowed to remain in exile until he was confident about his safety back home.
He left the country four weeks after he was suspended by his colleagues in the House for stirring the budget padding scandal in the public domain.
He, however, said he will return home upon invitation from law enforcement agencies in respect to the ongoing investigations into the budget padding scandal.
It is not immediately clear when Mr. Jibrin returned to Nigeria, but Mr. Hembe said he did so after learning of an ongoing investigation into his activities there.
”Having realised that even in the UK the National Crime Agency and the Financial Intelligence Unit have already profiled him and may soon open a case against him, he quietly sneaked back to Nigeria.
“His days of freedom are numbered and sooner rather than later he will face the full wrath of the law”, he said.
Mr. Jibrin has been accused operating foreign bank accounts while serving as a lawmaker in Nigeria which is a contradiction of the country’s code of conduct law.
A group, Anti-Corruption Unit, said Mr. Jibrin allegedly stashed millions of pounds of questionable proceeds in offshore bank accounts.
“Details of the account statement obtained by some lawyers in the UK show that Jibrin has a total £1.558 million pounds (N825 million equivalent) in the account between June 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016,” Ifeanyi Okonkwo, the group’s director, said in a September 19 statement to PREMIUM TIMES. “Jibrin, however, withdrew the sum of £623.44 within the one month period bringing the balance in the account to £1, 376,193.84.”
But Mr. Jibrin denied the allegations then and still denied it in his response to Mr. Hembe yesterday.
“I returned to the country on the invitation of one of the anti-graft agencies who needed additional information from me as they were finalising investigation and ready to arraign Hon. Hembe and few others.
“I visited the agency and provided what they required and signed to stand witness.”
According to him, “Hon. Hembe is obviously aware of this fact and has been panicky and running helter-skelter including trying to get the Speaker to intervene and save him.
“I travelled peacefully from the Nnamdi Azikwe airport Abuja and landed at Heathrow Airport and same on my way back.
“I also enjoyed my stay in London and other part of Europe catching up with my vast international network, delivering lectures and granting interviews.
“I have responded to the lame allegations and my response are in the public glare,” Mr. Jibrin said.