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Alleged Misapplication of Bailout Fund: Enugu workers exonerate Ugwuanyi’s administration

As IMSG tackles ICPC

By Emeka Mamah & Chidi Nkwopara

Workers of Enugu State, under the auspices of the Organised Labour, comprising Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC; Trade Union Congress, TUC, and Joint Public Service Negotiating Council, JPSNC, have debunked report credited to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC), alleging that the state government misapplied the Federal Government bailout fund for the liquidation of outstanding salaries and pensions of the public servants in the state.

They said: “Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi involved the Organised Labour in the management of the sum of N4,207,000,000, being the actual bailout fund approved for the state for the settlement of outstanding salaries and pensions of the public servants,” stressing that the state government did not misapply the fund as was wrongly reported.

ICPC had listed Enugu State among the states that allegedly misapplied the Federal Government bailout funds loan meant to offset backlog of workers’ salaries and pensions.

In a statement by Mr. Virginus Nwobodo, Chairman, NLC; Mr. Igbokwe Igbokwe, Chairman, TUC/JPSNC, and Mr. Theo Obasiani, Secretary, JPSNC, the unions described the allegation by ICPC as “false and misleading” and a “deliberate attempt to instigate workers and the good people of Enugu State against the state government and tarnish the good image of the state.”

Imo tackles ICPC

Meanwhile, Imo State Government has not only denied that it misapplied the bailout fund it received from the Federal Government, but equally challenged the management of ICPC to publish details of its findings or keep quiet over the issue.

Government’s position was made public yesterday, through a statement by Governor Rochas Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sam Onwuemeodo, which also made reference to a report signed by one Mustapha Hussain on behalf of the Commissioner for Public Enlightenment in the Commission.

Onwuemeodo said: “The Commission did not state how it arrived at that conclusion, but only stated that some transfers were made into certain accounts not related to salaries and emoluments, including N2 billion paid into a Government Account; N2 billion paid into an Imo State Project Account and N2 billion transferred into a Micro finance Bank.”

While stating that ICPC was right that such monies were paid into the mentioned accounts, government, however, stated that it expected the Commission to go further and tell the public what such funds paid into those accounts were used for.

He said: “The Commission became stingy with facts at that point. From the referenced Micro finance Bank Account, Imo State University, Imo Polytechnic, Imo College of Nursing and Health Sciences staff, collected their salaries, also in arrears, in December 2015. We also want the ICPC to prove us wrong on this claim.”

Continuing, he disclosed that from the mentioned government’s account, personnel of Imo Security Network, Imo Community Watch, Youth Must Work Teachers, Community Government Council Teachers, and Imo Civil Guards were paid all their arrears in December 2015.

He added: “In the case of Imo State Project Account, government was drawing money from the account to ensure full payment of workers’ salaries when the financial fortunes of the state began to dwindle like most other states. So, when the bailout fund finally came, the government had no option than to pay back the fund it had borrowed from that account.”

 


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