February 22, 2016

Saraki’s CCT trial, reason for alleged budget padding — Marafa

Saraki’s CCT trial, reason for alleged budget padding — Marafa

Senator Kabir Marafa

ABUJA — A pro-Lawan senator, Kabiru Marafa, has accused the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, of being behind allegation of budget padding in the National Assembly.

Senator Marafa

Senator Marafa

He also alleged that the planned delay in the passage of the 2016 budget was a deliberate ploy by the Senate President to trade over his pending trial at the anti-graft court.

Noting that Saraki, within his eight months in office as Senate President, had denigrated the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly, through some unparliamentary actions, Marafa asked senators to immediately move for suspension of the Senate President, saying such action would save the image of the National Assembly.

Speaking to reporters, yesterday, in Abuja, against the backdrop of last week’s resolution of the Senate that he be probed over his recent interview, where he allegedly disparaged the Senate, Marafa, who boasted that nobody in the Red Chamber could suspend him, said the Senate President was the cause of the many controversies arising from missing budget to padded budget in the legislature.

While insisting that the alleged newspaper interview was without fault, he challenged anybody  picking hole in it to come with evidence.

He said: “Nobody, I repeat, nobody in that Senate, can suspend me over those remarks I made in the said interview. Rather, it is the Senate President, Bukola Saraki , that should be suspended by the Senate for turning things upside down within the last eight months, from forgery of Standing Orders to illegally increasing the number of standing committees in the Senate from 57 to 65 with attendant violation of ranking rules in their compositions and above all, refusing to resign as Senate President, in the face of trial on corruption charges at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, and invariably battering the image of the Senate.

“He should remember that when the issue first came up in August or September last year, we didn’t tell him to resign and thus, cannot by whatever means now gag us and gag our mouths. The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria gives us the right to say our opinion, to air our views and nobody can deny us that one.”

He added that even the controversies rocking the 2016 budget in the Senate since January were in very logical ways, linked to the pending trial of Saraki at the CCT through the aid of fifth columnists shouting at different times that budget was missing, budget has been doctored, budget is padded and can no longer be passed as earlier planned.

He said: “Honestly speaking, if am to comment on the controversy that has been trailing the 2016 budget in the Senate,  I will say it is all the work of the 5th columnists there.

“In a nutshell, all the noise about the budget are all about  this issue of corruption trial or CCT trial. That is all, no more no less.”

Nobody can suspend me from Senate—Marafa

As he speaks, trouble appears to be looming in the Senate this week, over whatever action the Senate plans to take against the senator, who represents Zamfara Central, on the platform of  ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.

He was alleged to have disparaged the Senate as an institution, in the  interview published by one of the national dailies (not Vanguard).

The Senate had last Tuesday mandated its Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate Marafa’s alleged offensive remarks against the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly in the said interview where he, among others, kicked against N4.7billion car purchase plan of the 8th Senate and secrecy of accounts of the entire National Assembly.

The committee headed by Senator Samuel Anyanwu, PDP, Imo East, was further mandated by the Senate to come up with recommendations on action to be taken against Marafa within a week, which expires tomorrow.

But in an interview with journalists on the likelihood of what may happen tomorrow, at Senate’s plenary, Marafa vowed that no body in the Senate could suspend him.