Senators accuse Buhari’s aide of submitting doctored budget

Bukola Saraki

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Thursday, accused the Presidency of submitting two versions of the 2016 budget to lawmakers.

Saraki specifically said the version submitted by Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, was different from the one presented by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Tuesday, December 22, 2015 Joint Session of the National Assembly.

The Senate President made the accusation after the Senate ad hoc committee setup to investigate the claims of the 2016 budget being misplaced delivered its report at the Senate plenary.

“What he distributed is different from what was presented by Mr. President and we have resolved not to address any version until we receive the version presented by Mr. President,” Saraki stated.

In its report, the investigative committee revealed that the Senate have in its possession two versions of the 2016 Appropriation Bill – one from the President and another from Enang, himself a former senator.

Saraki disclosed that consideration of the 2016 Appropriation Bill would commence on Tuesday January 19h and that if the Presidency wants to amend the initial version of the bill that was submitted to the National Assembly, there were proper legislative channels to do so.

Briefing journalists after plenary, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Aliyu Sabi, said, “We are duty bound to consider the budget that has been laid by Mr. President. We are waiting for the soft copy that we can produce it ourselves.”

Enang will not be drawn into making a comment on the controversy.

When contacted by Premium Times, he said “I do not want to comment on the matter at the moment. It is a very sensitive matter involving two of my bosses – the National Assembly and Presidency. I don’t want to talk about them.”