Alleged Budget padding: Senate insist on interrogating Fashola

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OrijoReporter.com, Works, Power and Housing Minister

Works, Power and Housing Minister, Babatunde Fashola is in hot water over the 2018 budget estimates of Power Ministry.

Read also: Fashola explains his side on alleged $350m fraud in power ministry

The Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy had discovered some anomalies in the proposal that smacks of budget padding and are holding the minister responsible for it.

The committee said the ministry duplicated the proposed purchase of utility vehicles, and captured them in three separate pages of the budget document earmarking N120 million, N288 million and N480 million for the purchase.

It also raised the issue of the Ministry’s proposal to spend N100 million to transfer files, despite budgeting for same in 2017, and making huge provision for ICT.

Last week, Fashola appeared before the committee to defend the budget but was walked out by the senators on the ground that he was not prepared for the defence, and was asked to return on Monday.

However, on Monday, the Minister sent Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Mustapha Baba Shahuru to represent him, a decision the committee frowned on, and drawn angry remarks from its  chairman, Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe.

Abaribe said, “Maybe Fashola decided to snub us because of some media reports, last week. But he ought not to have been angry by that. I am sure that was why he sent you because he did not want to come here.

“I said it that it was deliberate that Fashola did not show up. What we need to scrutinise the budget was not provided. We needed some things to make the process easy. Nobody is satisfied with these vague items. We are going to have to adjourn this meeting, pending when we will get these submissions from you.

“We are asking you to inform the Minister to be here to properly respond to all the questions we need to ask. We will do a comprehensive letter asking for explanation on items where we have raised questions. That will guide you in giving your submissions. We need you to be prepared when next you come.”

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