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Bailout Cash Is Not Father Christmas Gift – Apc Tells Fayose, Calls For Probe

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SAN FRANCISCO, November 17, (THEWILL) – The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Ekiti State has told the State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, to allow the Senate Committee on Local Governments probe the disbursement of the bailout cash approved to the state by the Federal Government.

Fayose had written the Federal Government stating that fiscal independence by the states would not allow his government open its books to the Senate Committee touring the states to investigate how the bailout cash was spent citing separation of power and independence of the state.

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

He insisted that 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 a strict application of the funds for the purpose for which it was approved.

“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,” Olatunbosun said in a statement.

“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.

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

“Fayose is 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

“It is 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.

“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 the 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.”

Story by Oputah David