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Plateau House Probes N3.7B Diverted LG Fund

Source: FIRAUNA GOWASH - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: PLATEAU STATE COMMISSIONER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND CHIEFTAINCY AFFAIRS, MR CHRIS HASSAN.
PHOTO: PLATEAU STATE COMMISSIONER FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND CHIEFTAINCY AFFAIRS, MR CHRIS HASSAN.


ABUJA, August 19, (THEWILL) - Following last week's revelation that about N3.7 billion has been diverted from the Local Government Joint Account of Plateau State, the House of Assembly has commenced a probe of the allegation as it today summoned the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Chris Hassan, to explain the withdrawals.

The House says it wants to know details of the withdrawals and for what they were meant for.

The Commissioner who appeared before the committee explained that all the withdrawals were done with the consent of then LG Chairmen.

He explained that the N47.1 million, N106.1 million, N50 million and N150 million withdrawn from the account were for cash payments for Local Government employees.

He said the N1.04 billion loan the state government took on behalf of the LG's was obtained with the consent of the then local government transition chairmen to pay salary arrears inherited by the present administration in the state.

The commissioner added that N150 million was withdrawn to conduct Local Government elections in the state in 2008.

But the House quarreled with the claims by the commissioner that N150 million was withdrawn from the account for LG elections as it said it had appropriated N800 million for that purpose.

The House said it wants to know who actually got the lump sum of N150 million that was withdrawn from the local government account purportedly for the local government election.

The commissioner said most of the transactions happened before his time in office and that he was only making available to the committee the records available to him and asked for more time.

The committee chaired by Amos Gombi, sought to know if the state government had sought the approval of the state House of Assembly before obtaining the N1.04 billion loan it took form a commercial bank in the state and demanded for proof that such approval had been given by the House before it took the loan.

The House also demanded for details of the loan including terms and conditions. The committee gave him tow weeks to prepare his defence and appear before it again. He is to appear again before the committee on September 2, 2010 for further hearing.