Budget padding: 15 questions Falana must answer

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Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana

By Rep.Linus Okorie

Dear Mr Femi Falana, SAN,

I monitored your opinions on July 31, 2016 via Channels Television on the issue of alleged padding of the budget. Being one person I have admired over the years and have the greatest admiration for on point of law, public advocacy and rights protection, I wish to kindly seek the following clarifications to help me get a better handle on the matters in issue:

1. Is the budget an act of the National Assembly or a product of Mr President’s desires? Specifically, whose constitutional responsibility is the Appropriation Act (not the Appropriation bill) with particular reference to and combined reading of sections 4, 59, 80 and 81 of the constitution?

2. Can the estimates presented by Mr President under section 81(1) of the constitution become an appropriation act without the legislative inputs of the National Assembly with particular reference to section 59(2)(3) of the same constitution? Specifically, what in your opinion was the intention of the framers of the constitution in subjecting the budget to same lawmaking process of the National Assembly with specific clarification in section 59 of the constitution?

3. Can an estimate proposed by Mr President and passed in exact amount by the NASS be deemed illegal and padding under any circumstance simply because the assembly broke the lump sum down into discrete projects for implementation? For instance, the zonal intervention fund or so called constituency projects?

4. What exactly is illegal or immoral about the constituency projects fund(always proposed and executed by the executive the same way as other capital projects in each budget)? Do you truly believe that the annual constituency projects of N100billion (approx 5% of the 2016 capital appropriation) for the NASS is the greatest source of corruption or executory inefficiency in our budgets!

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Source:: PM Newspaper