Thursday’s raid on the residence of the chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje, may affect the passage of the 2017 budget estimates, PREMIUM TIMES has been told.
A special team of officers from the Force Headquarters, Abuja on Thursday carried out a raid on the Asokoro residence of Mr. Goje, a former governor of Gombe State.
An aide to the senator on Friday told PREMIUM TIMES that apart from the cash and other documents, the police also carted away “18 files containing details of the budget estimates”.
The aide said Mr. Goje had been working for “almost 24 hours” everyday —including weekends and public holidays— because his committee is under pressure to lay its report for deliberation by the whole Senate and subsequent passage of the budget.
“In order to get full attention, he and many other members of the committee don’t just work in the office but even in their private offices to get the job done as quickly as possible
“But since this raid yesterday, he was not able to do anything, and you can say the work regarding the budget as far as the Senate is concerned has stopped,” he said.
The 2017 budget has been making gradual process in the National Assembly since President Muhammadu Buhari first proposed it in a speech before the joint-session of the legislature on December 14, 2016.
The proposed budget, estimated at N7.29 trillion, was initially slated to be passed before the end of March, 2017.
But lawmakers said they were sill working out the details after encountering some complexities in the figures of some ministries, department and agencies.
They later gave a May 5 deadline for the passage, but Mr. Goje hinted in late March that this might not be feasible.
The Senate appropriation chairman suggested that an extension might be required if the budget was not passed on the new deadline, adding that MDAs will get legal backing to continue spending after the 2016 budget expires on May 5.
It remained unclear if Mr. Goje would formally request that extension in the wake of his ordeal with the police.
Apart from the files and other documents, the police also allegedly carted away N18 million, $19,000 and 4,000 Saudi Riyal in cash from the residence of the former Gombe state governor.
The senator’s aide also told PREMIUM TIMES that the police were yet to communicate to Mr. Goje what the raid was about as at Friday evening.
When contacted Friday night, police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, declined to speak in detail about the raid, saying further investigation had commenced.
“Investigation is currently ongoing,” Mr. Moshood, a chief superintendent of police, told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone.
“After the raid, the police still needed to do further investigation.”
“Upon completion, the findings of the police will be made public,” the spokesperson said.
Mr. Moshood’s position corroborated what a police source had earlier told PREMIUM TIMES.
The source, who pleaded strict anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on behalf of the police, said the team that carried out the raid commenced investigation shortly thereafter, adding that a preliminary report might be ready by Monday.
“The investigation is currently being done and I understand a preliminary report may be ready as early as Monday, April 24.”
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