Omisore’s N60bn scandal raises questions on N/Assembly budget
A document discovered at the Abuja residence of Senator Iyiola Omisore has raised fresh concerns about the budget of the National Assembly that has over the years been shrouded in secrecy.
Officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had at the weekend revealed the discovery of the document, indicating a N60 bn financial scandal in the budget of the National Assembly in the sixth senate (2007 - 2011). Omisore represented Osun East under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation at that time.
The document showed how N60 bn was voted for extraneous overhead expenses for some senators and members of the House of Representatives in the 6th Assembly.
The anti-graft agency was said to have officially written the management of the National Assembly on the discovery. Omisore is being investigated over N1.310 bn he received from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA). A source in the National Assembly told our correspondent that the scandal had been on since 2010 when the budget of the National Assembly was made a one-line item.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had on several occasions promised to make the breakdown of the budget available to the public.
When contacted, the Director of Information, Mr. Ishaku Dibal, said he was not aware of the EFCC’s communication to the National Assembly on the scandal.
When our correspondents went to the office of the acting clerk to the National Assembly, Muhammed Sani-Omolori, officials asked them to return today.
The budget of the National Assembly started skyrocketing in 2003 when it was jerked up from N23.347 bn to N32.229 bn in 2004 and the following year it went up to N55.422 bn. The budget that covers the salaries and allowances of the 109 Senators, the 360 House of Representatives members, their aides as well as the budget of the National Assembly Commission, National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) and the Public Complaints Commission (PCP) dropped to N39.810 bn in 2006.
In 2007 when Senator David Mark was Senate President, N66.488 bn was budgeted, in 2008 N104.825 bn, in 2009 N96.052 bn and in 2010 N154.2 bn was budgeted. Since 2010, the budget of the lawmakers stood at N150 bn for four years until last year when it was slashed to N120 bn and this year N115 bn was allocated to them.