Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has punished about 22 top federal government officials over the 2016 budget padding scandal.
A total of 184 civil servants were disciplined for their different roles in the padding of the 2016 budget.
This was disclosed in Buhari’s authorized biography, ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria’, written by Prof. John Paden and presented to the public on Monday, October 3.
Paden said 22 top officials out of the 184 were dismissed from service.
He said the president viewed the padding as an attempt to scuttle his administration’s innovations, hence his decision to wield the big stick against the culprits.
The author wrote: “Buhari himself was frustrated by earlier padding of the budget by bureaucrats in some of the ministries. This was interpreted by the Buhari team as an attempt to scuttle the innovations proposed by the President by inflating their costs.
“When Buhari found out, he was reported to be angry and ordered a purge of the ministries involved from the Director-General down. Twenty-two top officials were dismissed, including the budget director. In all, 184 civil servants were disciplined.”
He added that even after the budget had been adjusted downward by the National Assembly, the country would still have to borrow $3.5bn, as a result of the drop in oil prices.
Describing those responsible for the distortion of the budget proposals as entrenched interests, the President had said since he had been holding public offices, he had never heard about budget padding before the incident.
“The culprits will not go unpunished. I have been a military governor, petroleum minister, military Head of State and headed the Petroleum Trust Fund.
“Never had I heard the words budget padding. Our Minister of Budget and National Planning did a great job with his team. The minister became almost half his size during the time, working night and day to get the budget ready, only for some people to pad it,” President Buhari added.
The president reaffirmed his government’s zero tolerance for corruption, saying the war against corruption was a monumental task that he was determined to tackle successfully.
Meanwhile, President Buhari on Tuesday, October 4 sent a draft of the 2017 budget to the Nigerian Senate for approval.
Part of the details of the budget reveals that the plan assumes an oil price of $42.5 per barrel and production of 2.2 million barrels a day, as well as an exchange rate of 290 Naira to the U.S. dollar.