I have watched over time the recent exchange of words and comments from various stakeholders most of which are interested party. What baffles me in all this is that none has addressed the real issue as it has to do with power of appropriation and that of power of National Assembly over public funds as enshrined in the constitution of the federal republic.
For a start, we need to first understand the power of appropriation which belongs to National Assembly. It is a normal practice for executive to submit budget proposals or estimates to the parliament while it is the duty of members of parliament to call for budget Defence, during which the head of various MDA's are expected to meet various house and senate committees to defend the proposals submitted by the executive as it affects them.
Chapter 5 of Nigerian constitution sub section 80 is explicit on power and control over public funds, by this they have power over appropriating money for various arms of government to spend. It is in this line, that the legislatures can tinker with what was submitted to them so as to ensure that we get the best practices to allow for easy implementation of the act once signed into law with the knowledge of the various heads as it will be discussed. Their are some occasions that it is same heads of the MDA's that do make request to move fund from one sub head to the other. To further show their power over budget, they also have constitutional power to over ride President should he refuse to sign it into an act by two third majority of both chambers. This last budget is the first time the members of parliament didn't tamper with the bench mark as proposed by the executive. By the constitutional power they have, they also have power to control expenditure of the executive. After the entire budget passage and signed into law, it becomes national budget without any issue linked to constituency projects as been raised now. This is because the budget captures expenditure frame work which is expected to cut across all regions of the country.
Having laid this template, the accusation made by Hon. Abdulmumin Jubrin, former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation is unfounded and sheer ignorance as the two words he introduced like 'padding' and 'insertion' is not known to law since they have power to appropriate. The way and manner he goes about it shows that he has hidden agenda that it will be good to allow our law enforcement agencies look into his actions as it is a major distraction from the real issue that needs clarifications especially from him. He can't be called a whistle blower as he is a major accomplice in the whole scenarios.
He has been on major news medium, during which he made frontal attempt to change his initial 'padding' to 'insertion'. He now says they 'inserted' certain sums into the budget but based on facts that we have verified, their is no crime in requesting that out of the intervention funds made available and provided for National Assembly which was conventional as it tends to make governance closer to the people as the parliament are elected by people and by implication they are expected to know the needs of their constituents. It is not also morally justifiable to expect leadership of the House of Representatives to have same share of constituency projects in their constituents with members. It can only be said to be a crime if and when as it's been signed into law the aforementioned collects the money from the various MDA's. But in this case, just like previous assembly sessions they don't have access to the fund as the projects are under the various MDA's and to get them executed the company that will execute it must pass through Procuremet act, with the job been advertised and interested company's will bid and follow Procuremet process. By this act their is no way to divert the said fund except Hon. Jubrin knows what we don't know and in which if it is, one will expect the relevant security agencies to ask him to