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Budget padding: Resign, face probe; ex-lawmaker tells Dogara, others

By Soni Daniel
Abuja – As crisis over the 2016 budget deepens, a former member of the Federal House of Representatives, Chief U.S.A Igwesi, has asked the leadership of the House of Representatives to resign and hand over themselves to anti-graft agencies for probe over allegation of padding this year’s budget.

Igwese, who was a member of the 5th National Assembly, lauded the anti-graft agencies for launching a probe into the budget scam and called for serious disciplinary actions against the culprits to serve as a deterrent to others.

The former leader of the Enugu State House of Assembly described the insertion of fictitious projects worth billions of taxpayers’ fund, as pure criminality, which cannot be swept under the carpet or handed by the internal mechanism of the House of Representatives, since it was already before the public domain.

The former lawmaker maintained that the criminal action of the masterminds had also betrayed the social contract between them and the electorate.

He said that the gladiators in the budget scandal drama had by their action negated their vow to serve their people and embarked on a voyage of endless self-service.

Igwese pointed out that in older democracies those accused of fraud or any wrongdoing, promptly surrender themselves to the anti-graft agencies themselves to clear their names or resign to pave way for thorough and undiluted investigations.

He however cautioned against media trial of the suspects, maintaining that they remained innocent until proven otherwise by the court.

Chief Igwesi urged Nigeria to do away with the issue of constituency project, which encourages widespread corruption and adopt the global practice whereby legislators merely identify projects in their constituencies but undertaken by the executive using special intervention fund.

He said a situation whereby the lawmakers select projects and also nominate contractors for such was responsible for the current spate of corruption in the budget system a and a clear usurpation of the powers of the executive.


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