President Buhari is not yet over the disappointment raised by the 2016 Budget as he has ordered a proper investigation to fish out the suspects in the padding of the budget.
Fear has gripped top officials of the Budget Department of the National Planning Ministry as President Muhammadu Buhari returns to the country this week after spitting fire abroad over alleged padding of the 2016 Budget.
This came to light on a day the President pointed out that all Nigerians must join him to prosecute the on-going war against corruption as he could not fight it alone. It was also learnt, at the weekend, that Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt.. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have rejected the N10billion voted in the 2016 budget for the building of new official quarters for them, opting for a cut in the vote.
Angry Buhari Presidency sources confirmed to Sunday Vanguard that Buhari was very angry over the alleged doctoring of the budget by some bad eggs in the ministry, thereby trying to stifle his administration’s efforts to reflate the economy.
In the meantime, it was learnt that the President has ordered detectives to fish out those who orchestrated the padding of the budget for immediate punishment on his return to Abuja. Based on the directive, according to the sources, plain clothes detectives had since swooped on the Department of Budget and some ministries, departments and agencies to fish out those implicated in the budget imbroglio. The sources claimed that more heads may roll over the addition of figures to the original budget proposals, presented by Buhari to the National Assembly, by officials believed to be opposed to the zero-based budget system adopted by the President to cut costs and boost capital expenditure to 30 percent.
Those who altered the budget were said to have opted for the “envelope system”, which arbitrarily allocates a fixed but unrealistic sum to each unit, sometimes higher or lower than what is actually required. The detectives were said to have been scanning the initial documents used for the 2016 Budget and comparing them with the “padded budget documents”, which caused a spat between the Presidency and the National Assembly.
A source in one of the ministries, where the detectives were sighted, pointed out that the men had been examining documents for two days running.
“For two days, the detectives have been working in the Budget Department but we do not really know what exactly they picked out”, a top official in the Planning Ministry said.
“But the detectives did not molest any of the staff of the ministry. They went straight to look at the records and began to input data into their own computers”.
Already, Buhari has fired the Director of Budget and appointed a new one while moving the Budget Department from the Finance Ministry to National Planning. Some of the Budget Department officials, who were moved to other MDAs, were also being questioned by the detectives.
Last week, in far away Saudi Arabia, Buhari exploded, while addressing the Nigerian community, and vowed to severely punish those who cooked the budget to embarrass his government. The budget row between the Presidency and the NASS has, however, been thawed, raising hope it could be passed as early as next month.