You can’t escape scrutiny in bailout disbursement – APC to Fayose

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It was gathered that the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ekiti State has told Governor Ayodele Fayose to stop playing pranks to avoid the scrutiny of the Senate Committee on Local Governments in the disbursement of the bailout cash approved to the state by the Federal Government.

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It said the bailout is different from the regular federal allocation that cannot be monitored by the allocating authority, stressing that the governor cannot hide under the constitution to abuse a special intervention scheme that specifically insisted on a set of rules for strict application of the funds for the purpose for which it was approved.

Fayose had written the Federal Government, citing separation of power and independence of the state in the appropriation and application of federal funds allocated to the state governments, insisting that fiscal independence by the states would not allow his government to open its books to the Senate Committee touring the states to investigate how the bailout cash was spent.

But Publicity Secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, said in a statement that Fayose was playing with facts and the law to avoid scrutiny on how he spent the special funds specifically approved to pay backlog of salaries, pensions and other entitlements to former political office holders.

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He said the governor’s “recalcitrant action” was a confirmation of the party’s earlier allegation that he had misappropriated the fund.

Describing Fayose’s stance as laughable, Olatunbosun said: “Fayose cannot pretend that he did not know that the Federal Government attached certain terms and conditions to the bailout before he collected it and we wonder why a governor that agreed to the terms is now refusing to explain how he spent the money to establish transparency in the application of such terms.

“The bailout is like taking a bond that is programme-specific and Fayose knew this before he took the bailout and we wonder why he is now behaving as if the bailout is a Father Christmas gift that doesn’t require accountability.

“It is now glaring that Fayose has many things to hide, as we had on several occasions cried that he had diverted the bailout to his private pocket instead of using it to pay salaries as the main condition attached to the loan.”

He conceded that the House of Assembly had oversight functions over statutory allocations, explaining, however, that the bailout was a dedicated fund approved by the National Assembly for the Central Bank of Nigeria to disburse to states owing their workers.

“Since the National Assembly has oversight functions on the CBN and other federal agencies, it follows, therefore, that it can monitor how the bailout is spent by asking questions.

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“In fact, one of the conditions attached to the disbursement of the bailout is that its disbursement by benefitting states shall be monitored by the CBN and this means the National Assembly can also monitor,” he explained.

Accusing the governor for being motivated by “his tradition of fraud and muddling up of facts” by quoting irrelevant sections of the constitution to escape the scrutiny of the National Assembly, Olatunbosun said it was regrettable that Fayose was owing just one month salary of less than N2b when he took N9.6b bailout, but paid only one month salary and refused to pay pensioners, leave bonus and severance allowances of former political office holders as approved in the protocols of the bailout approval.

He said it was the knowledge of the governor’s conduct for alleged fraudulent practices that forced the party to raise the alarm on many occasions calling on the CBN and anti-corruption agencies to force Fayose to explain how he spent the balance of the money after paying just one month salary.

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Olatunbosun insisted that Fayose must also explain to the EFCC how he misappropriated the balance of the bailout, including the World Bank’s grants in dollars for core subjects and rural postings allowance, which he changed to naira and allegedly kept a part totalling over N600m to himself.

He added: “Fayose must also explain how he spent N850 million that was supposed to be returned to government account as PAYEE money deducted from workers’ accounts, but which was diverted to a private account in Sterling Bank with governor as the sole signatory.

“The PAYEE account as a result of deductions from workers is not up to N850 million in actual fact, but the figure was inflated so that the balance would end up in private pocket while the fake figure is in government’s books.

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