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Integrity Checks Exposed “Doctored” 2016 Budget – Ndume

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

Integrity checks carried out on two versions of the N6.08 trillion 2016 budget made available to the National Assembly by the Presidency exposed discrepancies in them, said the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume.

In an interactive session with journalists on Monday, the Senate Leader said there was nothing like disappearance of the 2016 budget document from the Senate or from the House of Representatives as reported in the media but just discrepancies in figures discovered at the level of integrity checks.

“As I earlier stated, no budget is missing in the Senate because it is not even possible for a document laid before a joint session of the National Assembly by a sitting President to miss.

“What only happened and blew out of proportion by the opposition are slight differences observed in copies of the documents at the level of integrity checks.

“But what I can tell you now is that the budget that was submitted originally, there were certain integrity check on it that made some changes in the quantity but not in the total”, he said.

He describes the call for impeachment proceedings against President Muhammadu Buhari over the budget controversy as a bad joke from the opposition, saying, “If we are to consider the act of impunity committed at the Presidency during PDP 16 years rule, then Nigerians deserve to kill the party and anything it represents”.

When asked punishment that awaits the Presidency over the integrity checks failure of the budget, Ndume said the President did not submit a failed budget but a budget that passed through integrity check of the Senate showing some discrepancies that need to be corrected.

He however said that in spite of the controversy trailing the budget document, the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly, will get it passed into law latest by the end of February this year.

His words: “We are targeting end of February to round off on the budget. In fact, if not for this mix up. We are committed to turning out the budget on time”

He added that the appearance of the Central Bank Governor , Godwin Emefiele before the Senate over the dwindling fortune of the Naira in the International market , will be conducted behind closed door .

According to him, such an appearance is so sensitive to be made open because the Senate will want the CBN Governor to be very frank on what can urgently be done by the government to rescue both the Naira and the economy from further fall .

“Honestly speaking, as a Nigerian, am worried about how things are in the country now, the same way the Senate is”, Ndume stated.

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