*Says It Is An Invasion Of Executive Sphere
*Says ICPC Will Monitor The NASS Members
The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has bared his kind on the Constituency projects embarked upon by members of the National Assembly.
President Muhammadu Buhari has set aside N100bn for constituency projects of National Assembly members in the latest budget proposal.
The projects, under the heading, Zonal Intervention Projects, bring the total to N700bn in the last six years.
However, Sagay, speaking with the PUNCH Newspaper on Wednesday, said he remained opposed to constituency projects, adding that the legislative arm of government should have no business with such.
According to him, embarking on such projects is an invasion of the executive sphere and an avenue for lawmakers to simply lay their hands on more money. However, he said this time around the lawmakers will be monitored by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.
He said, “I have always been opposed to constituency projects because first, National Assembly should not be involved in projects at all. So, it is an invasion of the executive sphere. It is just how to lay their hands on more money. That is the whole idea.
“But we have the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission that is up to the task. So, if they take the money, the ICPC will monitor them. Many of them have been taken to court, either for not utilising the funds properly or misapplying them.
“For example, money that is meant for medical equipment was diverted to the house of a legislator. Same for some farm machines in an attempt to either covert the money or misuse it. So, now that the ICPC is on their trail, they will find it difficult to engage in this adventure of trying to involve themselves in executive duty of awarding contracts and construction of infrastructure.”
On why the President was still imputing constituency projects into the budget, Sagay said thought it is unconstitutional, the legislative arm of government could frustrate Buhari if he failed to do so.
He said, “It is a Nigeria thing, it is unconstitutional, it is illegal but we do it because they are blackmailing the executive that ‘if you don’t give it to us, we will not approve any other thing you bring into the budget.’ But thank God the ICPC is on their trail,”
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