Thursday, 14 January 2016

Missing Budget: Controversy Brews As Senate Indicts Presidency

The Nigerian Senate on Thursday, January 1, accused ‎the senior special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, Senator Ita Enang of doctoring the 2016 budget.

It is alleged that Enang made copies different from the copy laid by President Buhari on Tuesday, December 22, before a joint session of the National Assembly.

‎Senate President Bukola Saraki disclosed this at the end of the executive session that lasted for over two hours.

Saraki announced that the Senate will only accept the version of the 2016 Appropriation Bill that was presented by President Buhari.

He made this statement after the Senate ad hoc committee setup to investigate the claims of the 2016 budget being misplaced delivered its report at the Senate plenary today, January 14.

In their report, the investigative committee revealed that the Senate have in its possession two versions of the 2016 Appropriation Bill which were from the president and from Ita Enang.

The Senate President further revealed that the consideration of the 2016 Appropriation Bill would commence on Tuesday January 19, and further stated that if the presidency wants to amend the initial version of the bill that was submitted to the National Assembly, there were proper legislative channels to do so.

He said: “What he distributed is different from what was presented by Mr President and we have resolved not to address any version until we receive the version presented by Mr President.”

Aliyu Sabi, the Senate spokesman reinstated the claims while briefing journalists after plenary today, January 14.

“We are duty bound to consider the budget that has been laid by Mr President, we are waiting for the soft copy of so that we can produce it ourselves,” he stated. made efforts to speak to Sabi privately on the matter but proved abortive. The Senate credited this report to findings of the Senate committee on Ethics privileges and public petitions.

Earlier today, revealed that the Senate leadership held an emergency meeting in the office of  Saraki over the 2016 missing budget.

In a related development, following the alleged disappearance of the 2016 budget document from the National Assembly, the Senate Joint Committee on Wednesday, January 13, quizzed five members of staff from the upper chamber.