2016 Budget Fraud: Reps block Ministry’s controversial N1 billion allocation


The budget defence of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, on Thursday, ended in a stalemate over controversial allocations to the ministry.

There are proposals of N1.07 billion for “optic fibre and satellite space segment” and N50 million for “global communication network computer” in the ministry’s budget. The budget was presented by the minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, on Thursday.

Both budget subheads are meant for a global communication project to connect Nigeria’s 119 diplomatic missions to the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

However, the chairman of the House Committee, Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, insisted that appropriations had been made “many times” for the project in the previous budgets.

Mrs. Ukeje disclosed that a total of N9billion had been appropriated for the project in the past.

She questioned the non-completion of the project over the years and the need for over N1 billion naira for the project in the 2016 budget.

Interestingly, officials of the ministry, including the minister, the permanent secretary, director of finance and administration, spoke different times without responding to Mrs. Ukeje’s probe.

“I am very concerned about that (global connection project),” Mrs. Ukeje pressed for an answer.

Then, the permanent secretary explained that request for appropriations for the project in the 2016 budget was for completion.

He said 66 of the missions had been covered.

But Mrs. Ukeje countered the permanent secretary, saying previous appropriations were not to execute the project in phases.

He questioned why N9billion previous allocations would be for 66 missions and not all the 199 missions.

As the Permanent Secretary did not agree that N9 billion had been previously appropriated for the project, the lawmakers asked the ministry officials to go, check their books and return with their findings by Monday.

Other areas of the ministry’s budget which drew challenge from the lawmakers were N3.6billion for “posting of ambassadors and other officers” and N100 million for procurement of “Hilux van, saloon cars and Ford Fusion” without stating cost per unit and exact number needed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Onyeama disclosed that the ministry would commit part of its proposed capital vote of N8.8 billion to “invest more on real estate abroad to really avoid the challenge of paying rents”.


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  • Watch man

    This is good oversight on the part of this house committee. I hope other committees would borrow a leaf from this. I’m happy that PMB has allowed the budget to come big time to the public domain. This will promote transparency and curb the penchant for doing things in an irresponsible manner.

    • Mayo

      Please, people should stop saying PMB allowed the budget to come to the public domain because he is not the first president to do that. At the minimum, under GEJ the budget was posted on government website and people examined it. Are we all forgetting that GEj was criticized for the amount budgeted for feeding for Aso rock?

      • Watch man

        Was it GEJ that inserted the feeding amount? Of course not! The same gang that fixed the feeding amount then have substantially not changed and they are used to the old way of doing things in an irresponsible manner. Now that the current president has acknowledged that there is a budget mafia, what is wrong in exposing them? Has NASS being this proactive in scrutinizing the budget before? That is why the current budget committee should be encouraged as well as other committees. So it is not a matter of who did what first but of having the will and being responsibly patriotic enough to question what is going on.

        • Dan Minister

          Yes my brother you are really a son of your father

        • Mayo

          1) That is not the issue. You claimed PMB allowed the budget to come to the public domain and I pointed out that was false, that even under GEJ, the budget was in the public domain. In fact, to be precise, the budget under PMB was not released to the public till BudgIT leaked the document (a version was sent to BudgIT by a NASS member). Before the leak by BudgIT, they had asked the Minister for Budget and planning to post the budget and had complained severally on twitter with no response from the government.

          2) Your claim that this NASS was very proactive in scrutinizing this budget unlike before is also false. This budget had already passed reading TWICE in NASS and was on its way for final reading and passage. It was folks like BudgIT, @MrAyeDee, @sataa and a host of people on twitter who were analysing the budget and raised a lot of issues. In fact, @MrAyeDee was running a daily stream of analysis on the budget. These guys then started directing tweets and messages to Bukola Saraki, NASS and a host of media organizations. @MrAyeDee was the one to point out how much had been allocated to Aso Rock Clinic before Premium Times carried the story. It was this pressure by the civil service organizations that now forced NASS not to do a 3rd reading of the bill.

          • Watch man

            First I must commend you for being objective in your
            comments. However, my comment did not in any way invalidate your dibs that GEJ
            also brought his budget in the public domain. Additionally, PMB could have used
            the machinery of govt to push the lid over the budget and thereby shielding it
            from public scrutiny if he wished. This is my point. Budgeting in the past has
            not received the level of attention it has in recent times. And this is good
            for Nigeria’s progress.

            Again, NASS committee could have decided not to even
            pressure the ministry in question to do the right thing if they wanted to. I
            say this because, if you remember Hembe’s committee that had oversight function
            of the SEC during GEJ’s regime, this young man with his committee refused to
            approve SEC’s budget simply because Miss Oteh (the then DG) refused to offer
            them bribe; SEC had to look for alternative sources to meet up its financial
            obligation for the whole year. If she had done so (that is bribing the
            committee members) nobody would have heard about what happened in that
            committee and the budget would have passed. In their parlance, they call this
            bribery “lobbying” – a good nomenclature for an offensive conduct. Comparatively,
            the present committee did not have to do the same in order to do their work
            irrespective of the number of social media commentaries. Do not forget that a
            lot of these guys don’t even read what we comment here. There is also nothing
            wrong in the public rising up through social media by tweeting, face-booking,
            etc. Besides, it is the duty of the people to hold their leaders accountable
            otherwise they would go off the handle and continue in their primordial and
            selfish career of caring primarily for their belly.

            So, for the committee to grill the ministry in question is a
            welcome development and we should encourage them to continue as well as others,
            even if it is as a result of public outcry.

    • Cleartruth

      ” I’m happy that PMB has allowed the budget to come big time to the public domain.” Can you hear yourself? Dictator buhari didn’t allow any thing come to the public. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t have control of what NASS is doing. You better emancipate yourself from worshipping a mere mortal.

      • Watch man

        I think your cynic attitude is the impetus that is responsible for your unbridled antagonism towards your president as evidenced by the type of comment you made. And this is a reflection of your psyche which is usually the first step towards schizophrenia. I hope that someone around you would notice this and help you out of your limbo.

        • Cleartruth

          You have not made any point

    • Darlington

      Chronic hypocrites! PMB and his gangsters of corruption have been exposed, and you are here writing rubbish.

      • tunde008

        Is it Buhari that employed the permanent secs? As they are exposed the will be shown the way out.Do not forget that he sacked some already.

        • Darlington

          So Buhari does not vent any file submitted to him by Permanent Secs before signing it? Buhari has failed Nigerians.

          • Watch man

            “So Buhari does not vet” and not “So Buhari does not vent”. Since you are commenting in English, read through before you post.

      • Watch man

        I do not blame you! If not that Premium Times allowed irresponsible entities like you to seek relief to your derangement in a public domain like this, you probably may have committed suicide. Otherwise how can you come here and pour invectives at others instead of making your own comments. Please seek for help.

  • Darlington

    Buhari’s first Budget which is ridden with corruption, has shown that he lack the intellectual capacity to lead Nigeria in 21st century. I expected Buhari to have fired Ministers of Finance, National Planning/Budget and DG of Budget Office by now. He is still busy gallivanting all over the world. Change my foot!

    • Olu from South Africa

      Just sit don dey look.

  • favourtalk

    Those ones that look confuse are also blocking some figure in the budget, what s shame, so those ministry that prepared the budget really wanna ridicule the president, they should as a matter of urgency be prosecuted like PMB wants it.

  • born Great

    This is corruption like never before.where is Buhari and his fight against corruption.

  • wazobia scatter!!!!!!

    trying to carry over ebele’s syndrome ……………………….

  • Chuks

    I’m very happy Nigeria has a president that preaches transparency and anti-corruption. Gradually Buhari is carrying every arm of government and hopefully the citizens on board the ant-corruption train. Everyone can now task government to be more accountable. It is yet to reach the states though. This is how leadership makes a difference unlike previously when the David Mark senate will pass the budget with multiple discrepancies without raising an eyebrow. Go through Jonathan’s era budgets, the same items of questionable expenses and duplications appeared every year for 5 years! Consciousness is coming back to our psyche as a people and in 3 years definitely change will be clear to all. I could recall in 1984 War Against Indiscipline WAI which was launched in Lagos gradually became a slogan even in Maiduguri and Sokoto rural markets. God forbid Jonathan type government and its army of peverts and criminals again in Nigeria.

    • Olu from South Africa

      “God forbid Jonathan type government and its army of peverts and criminals again in Nigeria” …..AMEN!!!