The Enugu State government has dismissed as baseless and legally untenable, allegations by members of the State House of Assembly that the government was in breach of the constitution when it applied the process popularly known in the public service as “virement” to reallocate funds in the 2012 budget.
A statement by Mr. Chukwudi Achife, Chief Press to Governor Sullivan Chime, said that those making the allegations were either ignorant of the law and the facts surrounding the matter or were merely blackmailing the government for ulterior reasons.
Achife contended that there was nothing unconstitutional about virement more so when the House had on its own, approved the adjustments made by the executive in that year’s budget.
Explaining further, Achife disclosed that after the 2012 appropriation bill was signed into Law, the government saw reason to reallocate within the budget and duly applied by way of a Supplementary Bill to the House for approval.
He said that the supplementary bill which neither added nor removed any money to the original budget sum of N76. 4 billion was promptly approved by the House, adding that the Executive also reflected the supplementary Bill in the 2013 budget which the House passed without question.
Achife expressed surprise that the Speaker, Hon. Eugene Odo and the State’s lawmakers, apparently in a bid to blackmail the Governor and deceive the public, could turn round to say that the bill was forged.
He said “It is certainly shocking that Honorable Members could so brazenly claim that a supplementary Bill that they had passed was forged even when the Bill is a public document that anyone can access.
“It must be emphasized that not one kobo was added or removed from the original budget, the supplementary budget was basically an application to reallocate funds within the original budget as disorderlihad been passed by the House.
How it becomes unconstitutional certainly defies reason and the law”, he argued.