N338bn bailout fund: Buhari orders ICPC to probe Benue, Imo, Osun




Muhammadu-Buhari-President-of-Nigeria

Determined to cleanse Nigeria from corruption, President
Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the chairman of
Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences
Commission, ICPC, Mr. Nta Ekpo to commence
investigation on how bailout funds to states to clear civil
servants’ salaries were allegedly diverted.
A highly placed source in the office of the HOD investigation
of ICPC during the weekend told Nigerian Pilot that the
Chairman of the commission has already assembled the
team that will investigate the allegations of diversion of
bailout funds for Imo state following the arrest of top civil
servants in the state last week particularly in the account
section.
According to the source, the investigative panel for Benue
state will swing into action this week where the secretary to
the state Government Barrister Tagema Takema, the
Commissioner of Finance, Accountant General of the state
and other prominent civil servants will be telling the
operatives of the ICPC how the bailout fund was allegedly
diverted.
The source further added that the President is not happy
particularly with the Governor’s of Imo, Rochas Okorocha,
Benue, Samuel Ortom and Osun Rauf Aregbesola being APC
governors for allegedly squandering bailout funds meant to
clear salaries of civil servants in the affected states which
are currently being owed for more than four months. He
added that the President had last week promised that he
was going to use them as an example; particularly, Benue
and Imo states who allegedly diverted money meant for the
payment of workers’ salaries.
The ICPC operative also told Nigerian Pilot that the
commission will be visiting Osun state as soon they are
done with Benue ( the investigations and interrogation is
going to be batch by batch).
This is according to a report by ICPC, signed by Mustapha
Hussain on behalf of the Commissioner, Public
Enlightenment released previous week Friday in Abuja
which monitored how states spent the N338bn bailout fund
given to them by the Federal Government.
Nigerian Pilot recalled that Buhari had last year approved
the sum of N338bn for 27 states that were unable to pay
salaries. Some of the states had been unable to pay over 10
months’ salary arrears and pensions.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who heads the National
Economic Council, had explained that the loan is repayable
at an interest rate of nine per cent over a 20-year period
and it is “solely for the purpose of paying the backlog of
salaries.”
However, the report issued by the ICPC two weeks ago,
showed that Benue and Imo states were found wanting,
while a few other states were found to still be owing
salaries, an indication that the funds may have been
mismanaged.
The report comes less than a month after the Economic and
Financial Crimes Commission arrested the Principal
Secretary to the Governor, Dr. Pascal Obi and two others —
Uzoho Casmir and Iheoma Kenneth — who were described
by the EFCC as the director of finance and treasurer
respectively.
The fresh report by the ICPC states that, “Imo State applied
for and received bailout funds of N26, 806, 430, 000.00
from the Central Bank of Nigeria which were domiciled with
two commercial banks namely Fidelity and Zenith banks.
In the course of analysis, it was discovered that some
transfers were made into certain Imo State Government
accounts which are not related to salaries and emoluments
are as follows: N2bn paid into a Government Account; N2bn
into an Imo State Project account; N2bn transferred into
microfinance bank; and a management fee of N21, 017,
810.00 was paid into an unspecified account.”
According to the report also, Benue State received over
N12bn that was meant for the payment of salaries but
mysteriously paid over N70m into the account of the Office
of the Deputy Governor.
The report states, “In Benue State, the total debt accrued
from staff salaries and emoluments amounted to N12, 503,
439, 787. 48. The state received N12, 503, 439, 787.48 as
bailout fund and disbursed N10, 852, 536, 702.96 with a
balance of N1, 650, 903, 084.52.
Analysis of the documents submitted revealed a double
payment of N37, 760, 000.00 in favour of the Office of the
Deputy Governor. This double payment is presently being
investigated.”
In the case of Osun State, the ICPC stated that the state
received N34.9bn as bailout and it disbursed N16.3bn.
However, the report adds that the commission is
investigating allegations that the state had not paid salaries
since July 2015.
“The commission is verifying allegations that Osun State
public servants have only been paid salaries up to July
2015,” the report states.
However, efforts by Nigerian Pilot to get the reaction of the
Consultant to Osun State Government on Information, Mr.
Sunday Akere, Mr Terver Akase, the Chief Press Secretary
to the governor of Benue State and the Media Adviser to
Governor Rochas Okorocha proved abortive as all their lines
were switched off.
Already many states owe between six and 10 months’
salaries across the country.

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