2021 Budget: Senate Committee Grills Justice Ministry Officials Over N2b For Legal Services
The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters on Monday grilled officials of the Ministry of Justice over the N2 billion it proposed to spend on legal services in 2021.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN); Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Akpata (SAN); and other officials of the ministry appeared before the committee to defend their 2021 budget proposal.
In the document submitted to the committee, the ministry under overhead cost proposed that N2 billion would be used to pay for legal services.
It listed the legal services to include civil litigation, prison decongestion, trial and prosecution of Boko Haram, administration of criminal justice system and payment for international legal obligations.
Senator Ajibola Basiru, a member of the committee and Chairman Committee on Media and Publicity of the Senate, said the N2 billion proposed for legal services was not clear enough to avail auditors at the committee enough room to exercise their oversight functions.
Basiru said: “We need to know how much is being projected for civil litigation, for prison decongestion and all other items in that regard.
“Also, there appears to be an overlap with what has been provided for the sum of about N2 billion for generated items under overhead cost and some of the items listed as capital expenditure.
“For instance, there is a provision of N350 million for the administration of criminal justice on Page 4.
“What is the relationship between that N350 million budgeted and the projected sum under the heading of legal services in the overhead cost proposal?
“The same thing with the issue of prison decongestion.