Quest for the Truth and Justice

London/Paris Club Refund: Why Kwara, others yet to get fresh disbursement – Finance Ministry

Posted by on Mar 30th, 2017 and filed under News, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

By Mumini AbdulKareem

For Kwara State Government and indigenes, the anxiety that had characterised the wait over release second tranche of the London/Paris loan refund to the state may linger further, following feelers from the Federal Ministry of Finance last night, National Pilot can report.

A top source in the ministry who confided in this medium in a telephone chat from Abuja, maintained that the ministry is yet to conclude reconciliation of the accounts of Kwara and other states on the issue.

This development is coming just as the Kwara State Government and Consultants of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF), Melrose General Services Limited, absolved the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki of culpability in the N3.5 billion paid the firm to manage the fund.

According to the source, “the second batch of payment to Kwara is not ready now including that of other states.
But when prodded further on when the refund is likely to hit the state vault, the source emphasised that “it is not ready’. That is the much I can tell you for now”.

He dismissed reports making the rounds in the media about payments that have been reconciled for states, adding that, “We are not concerned about the speculation being bandied in the media on the amount each state will get. We don’t have anything to do with those figures.”

There had been report in a national dailies that Kwara State will get over $134million, (over N9bn) from the second disbursement.

“As we speak now, the second batch of the disbursement is not ready for Kwara and other states across the country.

“We don’t have anything to do with the figures published by some national dailies over the issue and who gets or expecting what.

“The federal government is still reconciling claims made by state governments on the issue. However, further payment will be determined by our cash flow which is not healthy for now.

“Agreed President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the release of the second tranche to states but it’s not that we are trying to disobey him on this. This is an issue of finance and we have to be meticulous on our computation and disbursement especially because of the figures involved.”

There had been disquiet following the release of the first tranche of the refund as some state governors were accused of diversion of the funds for personal use and to defray huge individual debts, by the Ibrahim Magu-led EFCC.
Recall that the Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun had said part of the reason President Buhari ordered for the second release was to specifically clear huge salary backlogs across the country.

Meanwhile, the Kwara State Government has denied payment of any part of the refund of the London/Paris loan refunds to the Senate President and Chairman of National Assembly, Dr Bukola Saraki.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communication to the Governor, Dr. Muideen Akorede, the government reaffirmed that its share of the refund from the Federal Government was fully utilised for infrastructure, MSME support as well as payment of salaries and pensions at state and local government levels.

“The public is therefore advised to disregard spurious and completely unsubstantiated claims …or similar assertions on any other platform to the effect that part of the state’s share of the refund was paid to a former governor of the state and current Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki or to any other party.

“It is not the state government’s practice to make payments to individuals or organisations without appropriation”, the statement added.

Similarly, the consultant employed by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) for the fund, Melrose General Services Limited, exonerated Dr. Saraki of any misconduct on the payment.

According to the firm, the company was not involved in any N3.5billion scandal, adding that it executed the consultancy in line with global best practice.

The NGF has insisted it was not within its purview to determine how Melrose expended its share of the N3.5billion consultancy fees it paid to the company.

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