By Omoh Gabriel
ABUJA—Federal Ministry of Finance, yesterday, denied allegation of $5 billion missing from the excess crude account, saying that Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State’s accusation is absolutely shocking and false.
The ministry in a statement issued in Abuja, said: “Governor Amaechi cannot credibly deny knowledge of the status of the ECA. He has been closely involved and actively participated in making requests to the Presidency for the ECA to be shared for the purpose of augmenting the regular allocations from the Federation Account whenever there is a shortfall.
“The $5 billion in the ECA which Governor Amaechi referred to in his statement has been shared to the three tiers of government to make up for the revenue shortfalls during the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee process.”
Continuing the statement further said: “In fact, earlier this month (November 2013) Rivers State along with other states, benefited from the sharing of $1 billion from the ECA to augment the allocations. It is therefore, curious that Governor Amaechi seems not to know the whereabouts of the N56.2 billion which Rivers State has received from the ECA this year. Governor Amaechi also accused Dr Okonjo-Iweala of refusing to sign the African Development Bank, ADB, loan for a water project in Port Harcourt. Again, he is wrong.
“The loan in question has been appraised but it is yet to be negotiated. Before the minister can sign it, it has to go through the negotiation process and be considered and cleared by both the Board of the African Development Bank and the Federal Executive Council. So the issue of the minister refusing to sign it simply does not arise. Dr. Okonjo-Iweala handles issues concerning the states on the basis of professionalism and equity.”