By; BENEDICT SUNDAY, Kaduna
A fresh scandal has hit the National Assembly as a report has claimed that both the Senate and the House of Representatives illegally received and shared a hefty N10 billion from the national treasury.
The money is not part of the N125 billion appropriated for the
legislature in the 2017 fiscal year for recurrent and capital expenditures.
It is also allegedly not part of the N100 billion allocated for the controversial zonal intervention projects.
The N10 billion in question, more than enough to pay a year’s salary of 45,000 civil servants on the minimum wage of N18,000 per month, was reportedly not appropriated an was not also approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The money was arbitrarily and illegally approved for the lawmakers by the minister of finance, Kemi Adeosun, in collusion with the accountant general of the federation, Ahmed Idris.
The money was said to be released to the lawmakers as part of a secret N50 billion approved for the execution of the so-called “constituency projects”
Senate president Bukola Saraki and other lawmakers discreetly inserted into the budgets of several ministries, agencies, and parastatals.
Apart from the N10 billion cash given to the National Assembly, another N485 million was allegedly released for a project conceived by Saraki construction of model junior secondary schools across Kwara Central senatorial district.
Meanwhile, N450 million was reportedly approved for the same project in the 2017 appropriation law. But an additional N35 million cash was released for its execution, in clear breach of the law.
Saraki and the speaker of the House of Reps, Dogara, reportedly submitted a list of 82 contractors which they claimed the National Assembly was owing and the amount due to each contractor to take possession of the illegal N10 billion cash given to them by Adeosun.
Investigations showed that at least 44 of the 82 contractors Saraki and Dogara claimed they were owing were not registered on the National Database of Contractors, a database of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
A further check also revealed that 17 of the 44 firms were not even registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
That means they are not eligible to be awarded federal contracts.
When contacted for an explanation, Adeosun allegedly referred inquiries on the fund to the accountant general, Idris.
In his response, the accountant- general reportedly said the controversial payment was sourced from a N20 billion service-wide vote
“provided for local contractors’ liabilities under the 2017 Appropriation for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and institutions of Government.”
But while it is true that N20billion was appropriated for the payments of local contractors, experts reportedly say it was illegal to pay those hired by the National Assembly from the funds.
One official at the finance ministry who spoke under anonymity also allegedly challenged the Finance minister to explain why the funds were first moved to the National Assembly instead of paying the contractors directly.
“It is a monumental fraud that they are now desperate to cover up,” the official was quoted to have said.