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2019: How Okowa Allegedly Diverts N3 Billion From Paris Club Fund

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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Facts have emerged on why the Delta State governor, Mr Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, is allegedly foot dragging over the disbursement of the N10 billion London Paris Club Refunds recently released to the state by the Federal Government.

Two weeks into the release of the funds by the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari-led government, the state government has not come out with modalities on how to share the money to the required sectors.

Our correspondent exclusively gathered Tuesday 1st August 2017, that Okowa has purportedly earmarked a whooping sum of N3 billion into a private account ahead of the 2019 gubernatorial race to stage his come back to government house.

An impeccable source who do not want the name on print alleged that, “what we are hearing is that Okowa has earmarked N3 billion into a secret account for 3019 election”.

Our source also alleged that the Okowa-led administration has concluded plans to pay less than five months salaries to workers.

Last week Wednesday at the POST EXCO briefing, the Information Commissioner, Patrick Ukah saidd that the N10 billion was intact and that its spending would be made public to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

It would be recall that FG released the second tranche of the Paris Club refunds in partial settlement of long-standing claims by state governments relating to over-deductions from their Federation Account Allocation Committee allocation for external debt service arising between 1995 and 2002.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun explained that these debt service deductions were in respect of the Paris Club, London Club and Multilateral debts of the FG and states while Nigeria reached a final agreement for debt relief with the Paris Club in October 2005, some states had already been overcharged.

The funds, according to the statement, were released to the state governments as part of the wider efforts to stimulate the economy.

It added that the funds were specifically designed to support states in meeting salary and other obligations, thereby alleviating the challenges faced by workers.

Text message sent to the Commissioner for Information, Patrick Ukah and the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, for clarification were not replied.

However, at press time, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of Information Ministry in a text message said the allegation was not true.

Hear him: “Good evening, the Commissioner for Information forwarded a message from you requesting clearance on diversion of 3 billion naira from the Paris club refund. I wish to state that it was not true. However it would be appreciated if you reveal your source of information. P.R.O Ministry of Information