The Lagos State House of Assembly has accused Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of not presenting the 2019 budget and spending state funds when the appropriation bill had not been passed.
It therefore summoned the state chief executive alongside the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, to appear before it within one week.
Ambode had sent the 2019 budget to the House on December 24 against the tradition of laying the budget before the House. He did this with a note requesting to formally present the budget on December 28. But the assembly declined the request on the grounds that the lawmakers were on recess.
Subsequently, the assembly agreed that the governor would present the appropriation bill penultimate Monday, January 21. But the lawmakers did not attend to the Governor on the day the budget was scheduled for public presentation.
However, at the plenary yesterday, the lawmakers claimed that the governor had violated Sections 120 and 121 of the 1999 Constitution, noting that the sections explained the roles of each arm of government when it comes to financial expenditure.
The Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, on Monday evening told the Assembly members that it was important to give the governor a fair hearing over the 2019 budget over diverse issues revolving the presentation of the 2019 appropriation budget and the spending of the state government.
He said, “There have been infractions and it is obvious that the attorney-general, finance commissioner and commissioner for budget and economic planning have failed to advise the governor.
“We should let the people know that a budget that has yet to be approved is being spent, which is why we could not attend to the governor on the budget on Monday, January 21.
“We must let him come to explain what happened. You cannot commence expenditure without passing the budget. We call on the governor to come within a week to explain himself or we can start gathering signatures for impeachment,” he said.
The lawmakers had reacted to a report presented by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, who is the chairman of a committee set up to look into the issues surrounding the 2019 budget.
Members of the committee are Moshood Oshun, Gbolahan Yishawu, Dayo Saka-Fafunmi and Abiodun Tobun.
Eshinlokun-Sanni stated that the budget and economic planning commissioner, Segun Banjo, said no money had been spent for the year.
He added that the accountant-general told the committee that warrant had been issued that they could spend up to 20 per cent of the preceding budget before the approval of the budget for the New Year.
“We asked them to bring out the law that allows them to spend up to 20 per cent of the budget of the preceding year. They could not bring out such a law.”
The lawmakers thereafter adjourned till Monday, February 4.