2019 Budget: Justice Ministry Has No Allocation for Constituency Projects, Says Apata

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Dayo Apata

Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Federal Ministry of Justice wednesday stated that it has zero allocation for alleged constituency or zonal intervention projects in the 2019 approved budget.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry and Solicitor General of the Federation (SGF), Dayo Apata SAN, made the clarification in a statement issued to newsmen by Dr. Umar Gwandu, media aide to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN. The SGF maintained that the clarification, which was contained in a letter dated December 3, 2019, and addressed to the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC), was necessary to correct media reports about the ministry on the issue, which he said “is erroneous and misleading vituperation of vilification.”

Referring to the letter, the statement said: “The attention of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to a publication in a national daily on Monday December 2, 2019, wherein the Federal Ministry of Justice was alleged to have inserted the sum of N2.7 billion in its 2019 Appropriation for Community Projects.

“The report, according to the letter, prompted the ‘reaction and rebuttal of the said misleading publication and to as well avail you the authentic data at our disposa,l which is in harmony with the 2019 Appropriation by the National Assembly for the Ministry.’”

The permanent secretary said it was of paramount importance to state categorically that the Federal Ministry of Justice has no constituency project in its budgets as a Ministry.

He, however, said that a after thorough investigation on the matter, the ministry came to realise that two agencies under its supervision, namely the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) and National Drug Law Enforcement Agencies (NDLEA) have provisions for constituency projects due to their statutory functions.

“While NAPTIP was allocated N110 million, the NDLEA has N766.46 million, which amount to N2.1 billion as against the N2.7 billion that was mischievously exaggerated by the media.

“It needs to be reinstated for emphasis that the Federal Ministry of Justice, in its own right, has no allocation for constituency projects in its 2019 budget.

“The budgets of statutory parastatals under its supervision in that respect were unduly overblown,” he said, adding that “the intendment of the letter is to substantially establish that the sum mentioned in the aforesaid publication is at variance with the statutory allocation of the ministry in the 2019 budget.

“Unfortunately, upon the said publication, this office was inundated with series of enquires, questions and news reporters requesting for clarification. It would have been more appropriate if your good office had first sought for our clarification on the issue before going to the press,” the permanent secretary had written to the ICPC.