Senators finger Presidency in ‘missing’ 2016 budget documents

Some senators have fingered the presidency in the emerging controversial missing of the 2016 budget documents.
They expressed suspicion on Wednesday at different occasions that the presidency is behind the sudden disappearance of the 2016 budget submitted to the National Assembly.
The lawmakers said the intelligence they had so far gathered suggested that the presidency discreetly withdrew the documents to enable it to make some adjustments to it.
The president had presented the budget to a joint session of the legislature in December.
It was reported on Tuesday that the Senate, during an executive session, declared the documents missing.
The Senate Leader, Mohammed Ndume, sources said, informed the senators, upon resumption from the Christmas/New Year break, that deliberations on the budget could not commence until fresh copies of the documents were obtained from the presidency, Ministry of Finance or its national planning counterpart.
However, some senators, who requested not to be named so as not to anger the presidency, told reporters they had since realised the budget was discreetly withdrawn by the president in order to make some adjustments.
The senators said the presidency had in the past two weeks been combing through the budgets with a view to removing provisions that had so far exposed the administration to ridicule.
“The executive have now started delivering fresh copies of the budget documents to the National Assembly,” one of the senators said.
“The details in the copies they are delivering are different from those in the version delivered to the National Assembly in December. Some adjustments have been made.”
But the presidency has however denied withdrawing the document.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said only President Buhari could withdraw the budget but had not done so.
He suggested that the issue of missing budgets should not arise because several copies of the document were sent to the legislature.

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