Budget Padding: Group Calls For Independent Investigation

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A Non-Governmental Organisation , Say No Campaign, has called for an immediate constitution of an independent panel of inquiry to undertake a comprehensive review and audit of the constituency projects and constituency offices between 2004 and 2016.

The call made by co-convener of the group, Ezenwa Nwagwu said this had become necessary as the budget padding allegation is an indictment of the entire leadership of the National Assembly, and of the budgetary process in its entirety.

The activist argued that the 2016 budget could not have been padded successfully by only one official, or only one chamber, or only the National Assembly. He noted that the successful padding of the budget requires the collaboration of both the legislature and the executive.

He added that the Constituency Project system, since inception in 2004, has been an avenue for monumental fraud. The activist said the panel of inquiry should query” What criteria and framework were used for identifying, selecting and prioritising projects to be implemented? Query  the contract award system in accordance with the Public Procurement Act [2007] and the Public Procurement Manual 2011 as well as inquire the process for costing selected project among others?”

“Between 2004 and 2015, over N900billion has been appropriated in various annual budgets for National Assembly Constituency Projects and queried how these monies had been spent,” he said.

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