There are two versions of the “missing” budget proposals before the National Assembly.
The Senate President Bukola Saraki has said the Senate will only accept the version of the 2016 Appropriation Bill submitted by the President Mahammadu Buhari on December 22, 2015 to the joint session of the National Assembly.
Saraki made this statement after the Senate ad hoc committee setup to investigate the claims of the missing 2016 budget delivered its report at the Senate plenary.
In its report, the investigative committee revealed that the Senate have in its possession two versions of the 2016 Appropriation Bill – one from the President, and another from the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang.
Meanwhile, Enang was accused of changing the contents of the 2016 appropriation bill before making the document available to the lawmakers.
On Tuesday, the documents were reported missing. The senate later asked a committee to investigate the matter.
At its plenary on Thursday, the Senate said Enang, himself a former senator, changed the contents of the original document as presented by Buhari.
Saraki disclosed this at the end of the executive session that lasted over two hours.
“What he distributed is different from what was presented by Mr. President and we have resolved not to address any version until we receive the version presented by Mr. President,” Saraki stated.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Aliyu Sabi, further emphasised the Senate allegation when he briefed journalists after plenary.
Sabi said, “We are duty bound to consider the budget that has been laid by Mr. President; we are waiting for the soft copy that we can produce it ourselves.”
He, however, did not give details of the discrepancies between the said original version and the allegedly doctored version distributed by Enang.
The Senate President reiterated further that if the Presidency wants to amend the initial version of the bill that was submitted to the National Assembly, there were proper legislative channels to do so.