Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Bolaji Owasanoye, has said that the agency has discovered the sum of N12.5bn padded into the 2019 budget.
Owasanoye, who spoke on the tracking of constituency projects in the country, said the agency had initially blocked the sum of N9.2bn, adding that an additional N3.2bn was discovered.
He said that the second phase would focus on tracking infrastructural and agricultural projects besides empowerment and capacity building, education and healthcare projects of the first phase.
He said, “We broke down the 2019 budget and we are going to announce publicly what project is allocated to each state
“Part of our prevention mandate is to go into government agencies and look at how public fund is used.
“A month ago, we restrained N9.2bn from going out. What happened was that when we looked at the budget and what had been appropriated and how it was to be used, I can tell you authoritatively that there is still budget padding.
“The figure has moved because it is an ongoing exercise. We found an additional N3.2bn.
“Hopefully, by the time we finish, we would have found more money and saved government personnel cost.”
Owasanoye also lamented the absence of oversight function in the country.
He stated that the ICPC was taking necessary steps on the funds discovered and the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning was involved.
He added, “This is because the oversight is not strong enough. If you have personnel vote that is not exhausted and people do not complain that salaries have not been paid, you can tell that someone has made a budget proposal of more than what is needed to pay salaries.
“The agency involved did not dispute it and we informed the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.”