N3.7B Diversion: Former Plateau LG Chairman Calls For EFCC Investigation
JOS, August 22, (THEWILL) - Former Chairman of Langtang South Local Government of Plateau State, Mr. Solomon Dalung Selcap has called on the EFCC to investigate the alleged diversion of N3.7 billion naira from the local government joint account of Plateau State.
He said this is because the claims by the Plateau State Government that the funds were withdrawn from the account with the consent of then local government chairmen in the state is inaccurate and misleading.
It was discovered that the state government had on its own made several withdrawals from the local government account to the tune of up to N3.7 billion naira. The withdrawals are being probed by the Plateau State House of Assembly.
Plateau State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Chris Hassan had told members of the Plateau State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs last week that the local government chairmen had agreed that a N1.04 billion loan be obtained on their behalf to offset salary arrears of local government employees.
The Commissioner also explained that the ministry also withdrew various sums of money including N47.1 million, N106.1 million, N50 million and N150 million for cash payments to local government staff.
Mr. Selcap was a local government chairman when the loan and the withdrawals were said to have been taken. The former LG Chairman said if there was any deal like that then he was in a better position to know as he was the leader of the then chairmen by his position as ALGON Chairman.
Mr. Selcap told THE WILL correspondent in Jos that both the issue of the loan and other monies withdrawn were never discussed at any of the joint account meetings hence it is not possible for the chairmen to have agreed to what was never discussed.
He stated categorically that the then Transition Chairmen did not even know that a loan was obtained on their behalf and that there was a never a time that the ministry informed them that they had withdrawn money form the joint account to come and pay their staff stressing that each local government took responsibility for the payment of their staff from the allocation they were given.
The House of Assembly last week commenced the probe of the state government due to alleged reports that it diverted about N3.7 billion of monies belonging to local governments without the knowledge of the council areas.
The state government has since been trying to defend the allegation claiming that most of the withdrawals done by the then Permanent Secretary in the local government was with the full consent of the local government chairmen.
Except it is statutorily provided for in the constitution, the only other authority to withdraw funds from the local government account is when all the local government chairmen sit and agree on a project and an amount to finance it, before a withdrawal is deemed legal. Any other withdrawal outside these standards is considered a fraud.
Selcap expressed dismay that such huge sums would be withdrawn and the relevant anti graft agencies would pretend they did not hear about it.
He said he was ready to provide the EFCC, the ICPC and the police with the relevant documents to prove that the LG Chairmen did not approve of the loan and the withdrawals.