Former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwella, has alleged that former President of the Senate, David Mark; former Speaker of the House of Representatives and now Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal; and other members of National Assembly collected a N17 billion bribe before the 2015 Budget was passed.
Okonjo-Iweala, who served under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, made the shocking revelation known in her new book: “Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines.”
Okonjo-Iwela said this on page 80 of the book as Twitted and pictured by the spokesman of the President Muhammadu Buhari Campaign Organisation, Festus Keyamo (SAN).
The former Minister said the bribe money, which was added into the budget was N20 billion initially, but was reduced to N17 billion.
She added that the N17 billion was padded into budget as election expenses.
She said: “By the time we presented budget on December 16, 2014, the oil prices has further fallen down to $58 per barrel. We were prepared and knew we had to trigger the additional expenditure and revenue measure in 2015 to make the budget work. This would be tough, given that we had entered election year.
“Indeed, legislators initially refused to accept pay cuts to their regular N150 billion budget, despite dwindling revenues. But, eventually agreed to 13 percent cut against backdrop of Ministers accepting voluntary 50 percent to their basic salaries.
“In a tough session with the National Assembly ad-hoc committee on budget (made up chairs of Finance committee and Appropriation Committee of both chambers and other leaders of National Assembly), an additional N20 billion was reintroduced as election expenses for the National Assembly members.
“We insisted that the amount should be dropped because it nullified the 13 percent cut to their statutory budget, but managed N20 billion figure by only N3 billion to N17. This become the price to have 2015 budget passed.”
But it was not clear as at the time of filling this report whether all members of the National Assembly benefited from the N17 billion budget padding.