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Reps open investigation as 63 agencies spent N2trn illegally

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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives has summoned 63 agencies of the Federal Government for questioning over the alleged implementation of unauthorized budgets, which amounted to N2 trillion.

According to the committee, its investigation showed that there was no statutory approval of the budget by the National Assembly.

The chairman of the committee, Oluwole Oke, while issuing the summons, also wrote to the Director-General, the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, where he demanded evidence of the budget approvals by the National Assembly.

The letter written on November 8, 2022, got to the Budget Office on November 10, 2022.

Committee said the summons became necessary following the remark by President Muhammadu Buhari during his 2023 budget presentation to the National Assembly on October 7. During that time, the president said some agencies were operating on unauthorized budgets.

The letter is titled ‘Re-Request for Information/Documents with Respect to Allegations of Illegal Approvals of Budgets and Extra-Constitutional Expenditure by Some Government Owned Enterprises and Non-Treasury Funded Agencies’.

It read in part: “In pursuance of the power conferred on the National Assembly (Assembly) by Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as altered) (Constitution), Standing Rules of the House of Representatives, and based on Section 2 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act 2017, the Public Accounts Committee is conducting investigation into the allegation made by President Muhammadu Buhari, (Mr. President), during the presentation of the 2023 Appropriation Bill before a joint session of the National Assembly.

“Mr President alleged that some government-owned enterprises have been submitting their budget and getting it passed through some committees of the National Assembly outside of the process prescribed in Section 81(1) of the Constitution.

“In view of the above and in line with Sections 88 and 89 of the Constitution, I hereby request that Budget Office of the Federation furnish the committee with the approved Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) budget of the following parastatals for the period 2015-2022.

“Please kindly submit a soft copy and 15 hard copies of the above documents/information to Suite 4.23 House of Representatives Building, National Assembly, on or before the close of work on Friday 16th November, 2022,” the letter said.

Oke highlighted the issue more, “Over N2 trillion was spent illegally.

“Mr President has never presented or assented to these budgets. They are to tell Nigerians why they are operating illegal budgets; budgets that have not gone through the due process of lawmaking.

“Mr President never presented them to the Parliament neither the Speaker nor the Senate President sighted or read them on the floor. All the agencies fingered have all been invited,” he said.

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