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Senate to Probe appropriation of N5.8billion to ghost agency

By Inalegwu Shaibu
THE Senate Wednesday affirmed that it will investigate the allocation of N5.8 billion in the 2010 budget to the Maritime Security Agency which at the moment is not in existence.

Senate President, Senator David Mark gave the charge at plenary session during the consideration of a bill for an act to establish the Maritime Security Agency, sponsored by Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin.

The bill was however withdrawn by Senator Folarin following complaints from Senators that there was no financial compendium to guide the Senators on the source of fund for the agency when established.

Shortly after the withdrawal of the bill, Senator Lee Maeba, PDP, Rivers South-East, drew the attention of the Senate to the 2010 budget in which the sum of N5.8 billion was allocated for the agency.

Coming through order 1 (3) of the Senate standing rules, Senator Maeba queried the appropriation of N5.8 billion to the Maritime Security Agency.

He asked for the rational behind the appropriation for an agency whose bill for its establishment has not even gone through second reading at the Senate.

He said: “Mr. President, over N5 billion has been appropriated in the current budget passed by the National Assembly for an agency that has not been established yet. We are in the process of reading the bill seeking to establish this agency for the second time, and we have a budget in which huge sum of money is being allocated to non existing agencies.

“If you want, I can bring the budget tomorrow for you to see. Mr. President; it is a problem for huge sums of money to be approved in our budget for agencies that do not exist.”

Following the point of order, Senator Mark enquired from the Vice Chairman Senate Committee on Transport Senator Umar Argungu, PDP, Kebbi North, for clarification on the existence of the agency, and was told that the agency does not exist.

He called for the probe of the allocation saying, “We will take that up.”


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