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N30b budget fraud: why Senator Abaribe was arrested

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South, PDP), was arrested and harassed because of the questions he raised about the 30 billion Naira  smuggled into the budget, Elombah News can reveal.

N30b was smuggled into the 2018 budget without the NASS approval….. Does this invalidate the 2018 appropriation act?

So much stealing and massive looting of public funds.

The Senators are now doing an extensive review of what was sent to the presidency for approval and what was eventually approved.

Operatives of the Department of State Security [DSS] had arrested Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe on Friday.

They searched his house later in the evening with Abaribe and his lawyer in tow.

Two of the Senator’s aide confirmed that contrary to earlier reports, Mr Abaribe is still in detention and his mobile phone remains switched off.

No reason was given for his arrest, but the chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, had raised alarm over what he claims to be the fraudulent insertion of N30 billion budgeted for power in the recently-signed 2018 appropriation bill.

With a padding controversy trailing the new budget act, Abaribe said the questionable sum was inserted into the budget even though it never passed through his power committee.

He said, “The amount never passed through the senate power committee. Where did such huge sum of N30 billion come from? Let the budget office and other relevant bodies conduct self examination. Such self examination will go a long way to clear gray areas.”

He disclosed that the N30 billion in question was marked for expansion and re-enforcement of infrastructure in the distribution companies to reduce stranded firms. The Ministry of Power, Works and Housing received the lion’s share of the 2018 budget with N715 billion (capital and recurrent).

Senator Abaribe also expressed shock and displeasure with the slashing of the budget allocation for the Enugu airport terminal which was cut down to N500 million by lawmakers from the N2 billion submitted by the executive arm.

As chairman of the Southeast Senate Caucus, Abaribe said the allocation was reduced after Committees on Aviation at the Senate and House of Representatives had jointly adopted the initial amount.

He further mentioned that the caucus had even lobbied to increase the allocation to N3.5 billion but were unable to achieve it because it had an envelope budgetary plan which meant it couldn’t be increased past N2 billion.

He disclosed that the caucus will meet soon and find out who made the cut and why it was made despite what had already been agreed.

Recall that after the signing of the N9.120 trillion budget at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed his displeasure over the arbitrary cuts made by the legislature on certain items in the original bill that drastically affect the executives’ policies and projects.

He noted that the legislature made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration while they also introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion at the same time.

Lawmakers also increased the national assembly’s allocation from N125 billion to N139.5 billion in the bill sent back to the president, much to his annoyance. He said he only signed the bill because he didn’t want to further slow down the pace of recovery of Nigeria’s economy.

He further disclosed that he’ll send “a supplementary and/or amendment budget” to the national assembly to rectify the critical issues he raised.

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