A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has maintained that a cover-up is no longer possible as regards the allegations of budget padding as the cat has been let out of the bag.
The SAN also added that for now, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, has no choice but to defend the criminal allegations. Contrary to his misleading contention, the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act have not conferred immunity on him with respect to allegations of criminal offences.
“Legislators would have prepared the budget and laid it before themselves and then passed it. That is a negation of the doctrine of separation of powers. The Appropriation bill or amended Appropriation bill is not like other bills. Whereas other bills shall emanate from either of the two houses money bills shall emanate from the President. So a money bill is a special bill, which cannot be subjected to additions by the National Assembly because it has no power to prepare it.
“Padding is an unconstitutional infraction when the estimates are increased on the floor of the House. The infraction becomes criminal when the Appropriation Bill is altered by a few legislators after it had been passed by both houses of the National Assembly.
“It is unfortunate that Honourable Dogara has never heard of the word “padding” before now.
“If legislators conspire with themselves to pad the budget to fund the purchase of exotic cars and payment of unauthorised jumbo emoluments, it is a criminal offence.
“The allegations of Honourable Jibril have gone beyond the padding of the budget. The serious issue, which the Speaker and other principal officers have not addressed is that the alterations of the budget took place outside the plenary session of the house. This is the crux of the matter,” he said