INEC spent N503m beyond its official approved budget, National assembly discovers
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) spent N503 million not budgeted for or approved by the National Assembly, a joint committee of the legislative arm of government has claimed.
The joint committee made the discovery during the 2019/2020 budget defence session by the commission. Ibrahim Babangida, a member of the House of Representatives from Katsina, reportedly raised the issue as he asked Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, to explain why the commission unilaterally took the decision. According to the lawmaker, INEC's action contravention of the 1999 constitution that stipulates that funds should not be spent outside what has been appropriated by the National Assembly. A lawmaker representing Bayelsa, Fred Agbedi, further asked the INEC chairman to explain to the committee the extant laws the electoral umpire relied on to spend money beyond appropriation. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that areas where the extra-budgetary spending was discovered included security services which had N150 million appropriated but N194.8 million spent. Also discovered was that while N100 million was budgeted for office rent by National Assembly, the commission spent N232.1 million. It spent N440.8 million for general services which had N342,000,000, as its budget. Yakubu told the lawmakers that the spending had to do with emergency situations. He also noted that the action was taken in cognizance of the independence of the commission.