The Enugu State government yesterday flayed the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences (ICPC), over its report quoted in a national newspaper that it misappropriated federal government bailout fund loaned to the state to offset backlog of workers’ salaries and pensions.
A rebuttal signed by the Secretary to Enugu State Government, Elder Gabriel Ajah, said the state received N4,207,000,000 only from the federal government as bailout fund and that when the bailout fund was received, a dedicated bank account was opened for the fund and a committee comprising leaders of organized Labour in the state, representatives of the state government and pensioners, was setup by the Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to oversee the disbursement of the fund.
“So far, the sum of N3,284,729,253.38 has been verified by the committee and disbursement is on-going. At the moment, the balance is N922,270,746.62, while the verification exercise for further payment continues.
“On the issue of Excess Crude Account (ECA) Infrastructure Development Loan facilitated by the Federal Government, the state government has disbursed the sum of N5,387,569,930 leaving a balance of N4,612,430,070.
“From the foregoing therefore, the Enugu State Government wishes to state categorically that it did not misapply the bailout fund of N4.207 billion received from the federal government and that the figures quoted in the said media reports are false and misleading in all material particulars”.
The Enugu State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), also described the reports as misleading and malicious, insisting that Enugu state government received N4.27 billion contrary to ICPC stance on the matter.
The Congress absolved the state government of any underhand deal in the matter, stressing that they were involved in the management of the funds and expressed confidence that the money would not be misapplied.
In a statement jointly signed by Comrade Virginus C. Nwobodo, Chairman (NLC); Comrade Igbokwe Chukuma Igbokwe, Chairman TUC/JPSNC (TVS) and Comrade Theo O. Obasiani, Secretary, JPSNC (TVS), disclosed that “as at the time referred to by the newspaper publication of (29th February 2016), over 60% of the fund has been disbursed to the beneficiaries on item a – d above, while the verification and disbursement exercise is still ongoing till 31st May, 2016 as some of the beneficiaries (Pensioners) are yet to show up for verification.
“The Organised Labour in Enugu State is seriously embarrassed by the false, unfounded and malicious publication purported to have emanated from the office Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).
“The publication which is false and misleading is deliberate attempt to instigate workers and good people of Enugu State against the State Government as well as tarnish the good image of the State”. (The Authority)