According to the Senate, there are two versions of the 2016 budget. The first (real) one, was presented by President Muhammadu Buhari, while the second, a doctored version, was presented by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Senate), Senator Ita Inang. Inang has refused to comment on the allegations.
Here are some excerpts from Vanguard,
Senator Bukola Saraki confirmed the doctoring of the budget proposals by Enang at the end of deliberations on the report of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions on the issue.
Saraki added that the available hard copy of the budget presented to the Senate was different from the one laid before the two chambers of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari, shortly before both chambers embarked on Yuletide break last December. Senate officials, however, shied away from pointing out the differences between the two copies yesterday. Saraki stated,
“We have received the report of the Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions on investigations surrounding 2016 Appropriation Bill. Our finding is that Senator Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang printed copies of the 2016 Appropriation Bill and brought to the Senate.
“We have discovered that what he brought is different from the version presented by Mr President. We have resolved to consider only the version presented by Mr President as soon as we receive soft copy of the original document from the executive.”
“Our findings are these: That Mr. President did lay the budget before the joint session of the National Assembly and thereafter, the Senate went on recess and upon resumption, copies of the document were produced by Senator Ita Enang, who is the SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) and the copies were submitted to the Senate and House of Representatives.
“What we found out is that the document submitted by Senator Ita Enang, upon our resumption, has some differences, discrepancies with what was originally laid by Mr. President in the joint sitting of the National Assembly.
“However, the Senate in defence of its own integrity, honour, will not work with what has not been laid on the floor of the National Assembly. We are constitutionally mandated and duty bound to consider only that budget that had been so laid by Mr President.
“Right now, for reproduction, we are awaiting the soft copy of the originally submitted budget so that the National Assembly can reproduce the copy itself. That is the only time we can have confidence in the document we want to work with.
“The budget submitted by the President is not missing; we already have copies of it but what we are saying is that for us to reproduce for our members, it is easier, based on the quantum of document that has to be produced, that we get the soft copy of that original version so that we can reproduce it.”
He disclosed that the Senate has fixed Tuesday, next week to discuss the budget, saying copies of the document would be circulated to senators when the soft copy demanded from the presidency was received.
Enang told journalists who sought his view on the matter that he would not join issues with senators.
“I have chosen not to comment on this issue for personal reasons.
‘’We must work together to make the Senate as an institution to grow. The President is my boss and the senators are my bosses. I won’t join issues with them. So, let the whole matter remain as it is”, he said.