We know nothing about budget padding – Presidency

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By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Following the obvious smearing dimension the allegation of budget padding is taking and the negative impact it may have on the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Presidency has come out to exonerate itself from the stormy budget padding scandal rocking the National Assembly, stressing that the Appropriation presently in execution is the one originally passed by the lawmakers.
Recall that former House committee chairman of the Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumini Jubrin, had accused Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy and two other principals officers as the brain behind the budget insertions.
As the storm gathers momentum, a Transparency Group which claimed it has about 206 members of the House as signatories however, accused the executive arm of government of not free from the guilt of inserting outrageous sums into the budget allegedly carried out by the accused principal officers of the House.
However, responding to this allegation on Tuesday at the national secretariat of APC after a closed door meeting with the party leadership that lasted for over three hours, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on the Senate matters, Sen. Ita Enag, insisted that the presidency does not known anything about the trending padding allegation.
He said: “We are here on the invitation of the party leadership of the APC with my colleague to bring answers to issues raised by the party from the 2016 Appropriation and we have been with the party for a little over three hours and we have given explanation on every issue that there was nothing, to our knowledge, no padding of the budget.
“The budget as assented to by Mr. President is the budget as passed by the National Assembly and that is the budget been executed.
“But as at now the party is handling it as a domestic issue, and all of us are enjoined not to make public comment on the details of it because the matter is still under consideration. So that is what we will want to say for now, we will not want to go into the details of it so that we will not breach the ethics of the party, the directives of the party or pre-empt everything, any outcome by the party.”
Enang, who came to APC secretariat in company of his colleague, Senior Special Assistant to the President on House of Reps Hon. Ismail Kawu, refused to clear Speaker Dogara of the said allegation when asked.
“I will want to say that we came here as persons who work as liaison officers on the budget and the party had questions for us to make clarifications and we have made those clarifications to the party. We would not want to draw any conclusion. Please let us not go too far and mentioning any office. Let it be that two of us have appeared before the party.”
Enang also explained that “in all our years of legislative engagement, we are yet to find in the legislative lexicon the word ‘padding’. When the budget is presented before the legislature, the legislature is to consider the budget and pass as they deem fit. So what the legislature pass becomes the appropriation upon accent. Therefore, any word which is yet to crystalize in legislative lexicon, you cannot hear us mention it.”

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