The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has said that budget padding is corruption because the action is against the public interest and advised the Speaker to resign his position.This was contained in a statement issued by the Executive Director, SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni, on Sunday in Abuja.
Speaker Dogara had told newsmen in Abuja on Friday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa that “Budget padding is not an offence.
“What is padding?
“I studied law and I have been in the legislature.
“I have never heard of the word ‘padding’ being an offence under any law.
“Why should I be worried?
“As far as I am concerned, I am not worried over anything.”
The statement by SERAP said budget padding was indeed an act of corruption.
It said: “The allegations against Dogara and other principal officers of the House also suggest a subversion of the budget process.
“This in itself is a crime and also a fundamental breach of constitutional provisions and an affront to internationally recognized human rights.
“A prima-facie case of corruption is established when elected officials are allegedly influenced to act contrary to their obligations of office by the prospect of financial gain to themselves.
“Budget padding also amounts to corruption as the action is against public interest.
“Any appearance of corruption in the budget process can result in a cynical public or losing interest in political participation altogether.”
SERAP said democracy cannot work unless Nigerians have faith in those who govern them.
It added: “If Dogara refuses to resign for investigation and the allegations of budget padding are swept under the carpet, the ability of the House to function as a credible guardian of public interest would be seriously compromised.
“The allegations of budget padding and abuse of office by the speaker and principal officers of the House have continued to outrage the public, bringing the House’s integrity further into question.
“Dogara, therefore, has a duty to explain to Nigerians the role he played in the alleged budget padding in the House.”
Source: Eagle Online