Enugu State govt denies misapplication of bailout funds for workers' salaries

By The Citizen

…organised labour condemns ICPC report, says allegations are 'false, unfounded, malicious'

The Enugu State government on Saturday dismissed a report by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) which alleged the misapplication of bailout funds for state workers' salaries.

A statement signed by Secretary to the State Government, Elder G.O.C Ajah, stated:

'The attention of the Enugu State Government has been drawn to the media reports that it misapplied the Federal Government bailout fund meant for the payment of outstanding salaries, subventions and pensions for public servants of the state.

In the said report credited to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the commission wrongly stated that Enugu State collected the sum of Ten Billion, One Hundred and Seventy Four Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty One Naira (N10,174,238,681.00) as bailout fund.

The commission went further to wrongly state that the state government disbursed the sum of Five Billion, Nine Hundred and Sixty Seven Million, Two Hundred and Thirty Eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Eighty One Naira, Nineteen Kobo (N5,967,238,681.19) from the fund to 'settle domestic debt and claimed that the funds for the payment of state salaries and emoluments was not yet accessed'.

The true position is as follows:

  1. Enugu State Government received the sum of Four Billion, Two Hundred and Seven Million Naira only (N4,207,000,000.00) from the Federal Government as bailout fund for the settlement of outstanding salaries, subventions and pensions for public servants in the state.
  2. 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, His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to oversee the disbursement of the fund.
  3. So far, the sum of Three Billion, Two Hundred and Eighty Four Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand, Two Hundred Fifty Three Naira, Thirty Eight Kobo (N3,284,729,253.38) has been verified by the committee and disbursement is on-going. At the moment, the balance is Nine Hundred and Twenty Two Million, Two Hundred and Seventy Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty Six Naira, Sixty Two kobo (N922,270,746.62) while the verification exercise for further payment continues.
  4. On the issue of Excess Crude Account (ECA) Infrastructure Development Loan facilitated by the Federal Government, the state government has disbursed the sum of Five Billion, Three Hundred and Eighty Seven Million, Five Hundred and Sixty Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty Naira (5,387,569,930.00), leaving a balance of Four Billion, Six Hundred and Twelve Million, Four Hundred and Thirty Thousand and Seventy Naira (4,612,430,070.00).
  5. 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.'

Meanwhile, in its own statement which supports the state government's position, organised labour in Enugu State blasted the ICPC report, describing it as 'false and unfounded'.

A statement signed by Comrade Virginus C. Nwobodo, Chairman NLC; Comrade Igbokwe Chukuma Igbokwe, Chairman TUC/JPSNC (TUS) and Comrade Theo O. Obasiani, Secretary, JPSNC (TVS), stated as follows:

'The attention of the Organised Labour in Enugu State has been drawn to the  publications in Vanguard and The Nation newspapers of Saturday 23rd April, 2016 which alleged that the bailout fund amounting to the sum of Ten Billion, one hundred and seventy four million, two hundred and thirty eight thousand, six hundred and eighty one naira, forty nine kobo (N10, 174, 238, 681.49) was released to Enugu State Government.

The publication went further to state that the State Government disbursed Five billion, nine hundred and sixty seven million, two hundred and thirty eight thousand six hundred and eighty one naira nineteen kobo (N5,967,238,681.19) for settlement on domestic debts while salaries are still being owed to workers of Enugu State.

“We want to state clearly without fear or contradiction that His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi from on the set involved the Organized Labour in the management of the sum of four billion, two hundred and seven million naira (N4,207,007,000.00) being the actual bailout fund approved for the State for the settlement of the following:-

(a)   Arrears of initial pensions (from 2009 to June 2015)

(b)  Arrears of July 2015 Pension to State Pensions

(c)   Arrears of four (4) months (Jan. To April 2015) subvention to State Government Parastatals

(d)  One month arrears of salaries to non Permanent staff

A Committee comprising Labour and Government was set up to verify, monitor and disburse the funds to the beneficiaries.”

“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.”

“We urge the media to always verify and cross check their information before publication to avoid misleading the public. The Organised Labour in Enugu State is totally satisfied with the management of the (N4, 207B) bailout fund for payment of arrears of Pension and salaries and will continue to partner with the State Government for good governance and sustainable development”.