Published On: Tue, Jun 20th, 2017

Abdulmumin Jibrin, Suspended Rep. Alleges Massive Fraud In 2017 Budget, Vows To Expose New Strategies For “Budget Padding”

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…Says Ag. President Played Into Their Hands

By Sadiq Umar – A former Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin has alleged massive fraud in the 2017 budget, vowing to expose how officials from the Executive arm collaborated with federal lawmakers to perpetrate the fraud.

This is even as Abdulmumin lamented that Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo played into the hands of the federal lawmakers by bending backward to assent the 2017 budget, in a show of statesmanship, despite his earlier objection to some questionable provisions in the budget.

Suspended

Abdulmumin (APC), representing Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency of Kano State is currently serving suspension placed on him over allegations of budget padding leveled against the leadership of the House.

The embattled Rep. in his twitter handle Tuesday raised fresh dust over the 2017 budget signed into law last week by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo. He vowed to “talk about fraud in 2017 budget, how members of the Executive arm collaborate with NASS in this venture, new strategies to beat vigilant eyes, concealment, abnormality, reckless spending, budget revenue frame work, and 2 dollar extra benchmark.”

He said a series of revelations on the fraud would “run for three months, we will do a recap of the 2016 budget fraud with new revelations of facts and key actors involved.”

“Also to be addressed are N140 billion increment in budget size amidst dwindling revenues (the largest in recent years), poor economics, the “reformed” budget process, public hearing of budget, page by page consideration of details, corrigendum, the lies, facts and half-truths of budgeting, conspiracy of a few members of NASS in the budget process against majority of the 359 Members and 108 Senators and, very importantly, how to stop these infractions. We look forward to beneficial engagements, for a more transparent Nigeria.”

Abdulmumin said Osinbajo had played into the hands of the federal lawmakers by assenting to the 2017 budget in spite of identified grey areas.

According to him, “what the Ag President has given to NASS is a victory it has never had in the budget process since 1999, understandably to strengthen the relationship between the two frequently hostile arms of government. And so, he deserves a reciprocal gesture and unmistakable friendship from the lawmakers, not attacks and threats. This is my position.”

He noted that the Acting President agreed to sign the budget after the initial refusal, following assurances from NASS to restore the lifted funds.

He however pointed out that “once the budget is signed into law, the President must implement it, whether NASS makes the correction or not.

“There are only two ways to achieve such corrections: supplementary budget or virement, both of which are as good as going through the entire budget process all over again, and will require the Executive to go the full length of lobbying and massaging the ego of NASS, a process they detest so much.

“The unpredictable nature of the relationship between the Legislature and the Executive, as the state of such relationship at a particular time determines how friendly and expeditiously NASS attends to requests from the Executive. This is not peculiar to Nigeria.

“A national daily reported today that Osinbajo’s comment threaten Executive, NASS Virement deal but how could such a harmless statement create an uproar of such magnitude.

“Already, an unhealthy prevailing circumstances is being created that will make the process tough and place few people in NASS to negotiate some selfish interest only beneficial to themselves. That has been the name of the game.

“The NASS should know that how it handles this historic concession granted it by the Executive under the guide of Ag President Osinbajo will determine the approach of the Executive Arm in future budget negotiation.

“So, the only other way to make corrections in the budget, which is not applicable in this situation, is through corrigendum – a power vested in NASS to make minor corrections to the budget. There are instances where corrigendum has been used to commit budget fraud. I will discuss that and give you such instances in subsequent episodes of this series.”

He recalled that in 2016, President Buhari refused to append his signature but returned the budget to NASS on two occasions, to ensure that all the grey areas were resolved before his assent, noting that the issues were resolved by NASS because Buhari was feared.

“In this case of Ag President Osinbajo, perhaps beyond the respect he enjoins, he must strive to also be feared, through resistance to compromising settlements in his relationship with NASS.

“The reason isn’t far-fetched: all attempts to flatter and hoodwink President Buhari into signing the 2016 budget, by assuring to make corrections later, met an impenetrable brick wall.

“He saw through the smokescreen, and thus even refused to be blackmailed by threats of possible backlash from NASS if the budget is not signed before corrections are made and also the need to save time.”

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