Lagos State House of Assembly has summoned Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to appear before it within one week over the 2019 budget which has caused disagreement between the two arms of government.

It would be recalled that Governor Ambode sent the 2019 budget to the House in December against the tradition of laying the budget before the House.

Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of the House, told the lawmakers that it was important to give Ambode a fair hearing over the issue.

Obasa stated that there had been violations of the constitution and infractions on the part of the governor.

He noted that “the Attorney General, Finance Commissioner, and Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning who ought to have advised the governor did not do so.”

He added: “The most important thing is that we should let the people know that a budget that was yet to be approved was being spent, which was why we could not attend to the governor on the budget on Monday, January 21.

“We must give them a fair hearing to come and explain what happened.

“The point has been made that there must be something before the House before you can commence expenditure. We want to call on the governor to come within a week to explain himself.

“We can start gathering signatures for impeachment. We can exercise patience, and wait till another time.”

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The lawmakers had reacted to a report presented by the Deputy Speaker of the House, Wasiu Eshinlokun-Sanni, as the Chairman of the Committee set up to look into the issues surrounding the 2019 budget during a parliamentary meeting of the lawmakers.

The members of the committee included Moshood Oshun, Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts (State); Gbolahan Yishawu, Chairman, House Committee on the Environment; Dayo Saka-Fafunmi and the Chairman, House Committee on Works and Infrastructure, Abiodun Tobun.

 

Eshinlokun revealed that the committee met with relevant commissioners and heads of agencies.

The deputy speaker stated that the committee met with the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Segun Banjo, who said that no money had been spent for the year.

He said the Accountant General told the committee that a warrant had been issued that they could spend up to 25 percent of the preceding budget before the approval of that of the new year, adding that they would have to make a recourse to the House if they wanted to spend up to N200 million.

“We pointed out that the governor ought to lay the budget of the new year before December 31, but that so far the budget was yet to be laid, which was on January 23, 2019.

“We asked them to bring out the law that allows them to spend up to 20 percent of the budget of the preceding year. They could not bring out such law and we said what they did was wrong.

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“We discovered that people have started receiving alerts and this has a grave implication for the executive.

“It is our finding that for smooth running of government, there must be a strict adherence to the constitution and it must not be violated. We decided to bring the report before the lawmakers for us to take action,” he said.

Gbolahan Yishawu revealed that the Committee on Budget discovered during budget appropriation review, that there was some specific expenditure in the budgets that ought to have been approved by the House over which funds were expended.

He noted that these were misnomers, and that they noticed variation in the expenditure and budget approved.

“We had issues of virement and monies being spent without approval.

“We had cases of items that were not budgeted for being carried out. It shows the executive rewrote the budget at will.

“The constitution states that the state House of Assembly must approve all expenditures,” he said.

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