There are strong indications that a total of 184 civil servants were disciplined for their different roles in the padding of the 2016 budget.
This revelation was brought to light in a book authored by Prof. John Paden – a Buhari authorised biography – ‘Muhammadu Buhari: The Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria’, and presented to the public on Monday.
Out of the 184 officials, Paden, in the book, revealed that 22 were dismissed from service.
According to him, the president viewed the padding as an attempt to frustrate his administration’s innovations, hence his decision to wield the dismissal stick on those found culpable.
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.”
The book also stated that Mr Buhari is in possession of some letters, written by former President Goodluck Jonathan, to request “off-budget funds.”
According to The Punch, the former president in some of the letters, had requested “off-budget funds”- which means as funds not provided for or included in the regular Federal Government budget; funded by sources other than the federal budget.
The author captured the travails of the former office holders in Chapter 20 of the book, which is titled ‘Corruption and law in military procurement’.
The author wrote: “The fact that Buhari was enlisting the help of international community in the probes lent weight to the seriousness of his effort – and also meant that alleged offenders had nowhere to hide.
“Would the trail lead to former President Jonathan himself? As of the early months of 2016, it appeared that the EFCC was not going after Jonathan. Nor was it going after former President Obasanjo.
“The question of the stability of the entire political system seemed at stake.
“In addition, a number of senior military officers, who had served as Heads of State – from Babangida to Abubakar – seemed off-limits.
“Indeed, rumours swirled that if the probes went after senior officers, they might push back because they had extensive networks in the active military services.
“At the same time, the knowledge such heavyweights possessed could well be traded for immunity and would help to illuminate the patterns and sources of corruption.
“Buhari had letters in his possession showing Jonathan’s requests for off-budget funds. But Buhari’s larger purpose was not to put former high-level officials in jail.
“Rather, it was to retrieve stolen funds and to change the political culture of the country.”