The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has summoned 63 institutions of the federal government for implementing illegal budgets, leading to expenditures of over N2 trillion without statutory approval.
Chairman of the committee, Oluwole Oke, also wrote a letter to the Director General, of the Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, to demand evidence of appropriation by the National Assembly, as well as the expenditure made by the departments, agencies, institutes, corporations, and parastatals.
In the letter dated November 8, 2022, with Reference Number: HR/PAC/SCO5/9NASS/QUE.60/97, which was received at the budget office on November 10, 2022, the committee noted that the query was based on the alarm raised by President Muhammadu Buhari during his 2023 budget presentation to the National Assembly on October 7.
The letter was 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 partly read, “In pursuance of the power conferred on the National 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 an investigation into the allegation made by President Muhammadu Buhari 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 the 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.”
Giving more details on the matter, Oke said, “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 law-making.
“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.”