N1.64bn fraud: Ex-Taraba Gov. Nyame justifies extra-budgetary expenditure

Former governor of Taraba, Jolly Nyame says extra-budgetary expenditure is normal when executing government projects as there is always room for supplementary budget.

Nyame who testified in an FCT High Court, Gudu in a N1.64 billion fraud case filed against him, said he was prudent in spending state funds during his tenure.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), slammed a 21-count charge on Nyame, bordering on misappropriation of Taraba funds to the tune of N1.64billion during his tenure as governor.

Nyame, who was cross examined by EFCC’s prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), was responding to a question on whether he regarded spending state funds outside budgetary provision as prudent.

The prosecution served the former governor with exhibit 001, which was money budgeted for the Governor’s Office during his tenure in 2005.

The Governor’s Office made an excess expenditure of N982million.

In his response, Nyame said, “budgets are only estimates,’’ adding that he considered himself being prudent with state funds though he exceeded budgetary provisions “because I performed.’’

Jacobs also made available exhibit 002, being overhead cost for 2006 for the Governor’s Office.

The House of Assembly approved N40 million, while N713million was spent, with an excess expenditure of N673million.

When asked by Jacobs if he regarded that as being prudent too, Nyame replied, “My Lord, I was prudent and it could have been the House of Assembly that could have proved otherwise.’’

In 2007, N100million was budgeted for the Governor’s Office as overhead, while N2.1billion was spent, with N2billion as excess expenditure.

When asked by the prosecution if he knew that it was an offence to exceed the budget estimate, the former governor replied that he knew, but only if there was no supplementary budget.

Nyame said that exceeding budget estimates was normal when executing government projects and that “there is room for supplementary budget.’’

Justice Adebukola Banjoko adjourned the case until Oct. 12 for continuation of cross examination.

NAN

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