The Presidency says the failure of the leadership of the last National Assembly to carry out their oversight duty made it possible for public funds to be allegedly diverted by former minister of petroleum resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and erstwhile national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who spoke while addressing Senate Correspondents on Tuesday, claimed that the failure of the immediate past National Assembly leadership led to corruption and stealing of public funds in the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Newsworth recalls that Enang was a member of the Seventh Senate and served as chairman of Rules and Business committee, but defected from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2014.
He said, “If the committees in the Seventh National Assembly were doing their work, by checking what was happening in the office of the NSA, the Petroleum Resources ministry, we will not have had Diezanigate and all the other gates. We will not have not had all the probes.
“Because the Legislature concentrated less, that is why we are having the spill that the Eighth Assembly is having. I feel guilty and I want to apologise. If the legislature did its duty, as it is doing now, I think we will not have this situation.”
Enang went on to argue that budget padding does not exist, asserting that the National Assembly has the right to add or remove anything while considering the appropriation bill.
According to him, “In all my legislative years, padding is a new word in th legislative lexicon. So we have to define it as a new matter. In my opinion, padding is an illegal or unlawful insertion by a person who is not expected to do it in a legal, legislative document.
“Therefore, unless a bill has been passed and forwarded to Mr. President for assent, there can be no padding. If the bill had been forwarded to the president and something is inserted into that before it is assented to by any person and something is added different from what is in the votes and proceedings of the Senate and House of Representatives, that is what constitutes padding.”