Delta Says Sahara Reporters Is Ignorant, Lacks Capacity To Interpret Its Financials
SAN FRANCISCO, August 04, (THEWILL) – The Delta State Government Thursday said online publication Sahara Reporters lacks the capacity to comprehend or interpret official financial documents or transactions following its report which alleged that the state government withdrew about N2.5 billion naira from its account in Oceanic Bank to bribe the 3 judges that constituted the Delta State Governorship rerun election Tribunal, for a ruling in favour of the State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
The publication also wrote that the state also paid former President Olusegun Obasanjo over N700 million in 2010 to help influence the decision of the electoral tribunal. It published copies of two Oceanic Bank Plc payment instruments -- one issued to Obasanjo Farms Limited and the other to Manager Oceanic Call Account.
But the Delta State Government in a statement by its Information Commissioner, Barrister Chike Ogeah said the “mischievious online publication has again aptly demonstrated its limitless capacity for mischief, amazing ignorance and unbridled determination to deny Nigeria and Nigerians their finest moment following the globally acclaimed transparent and fair elections held under the new leadership of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).”
THEWILL checks has however revealed that the misleading report was sponsored by the camp of Chief Great Ovadje Ogboru of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP), who lost to Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
THEWILL has also been shown incontrovertible evidence by Delta State Government sources to prove that the state funds drawn in the Oceanic Bank Plc were legitimate.
The statement from the Delta State Government reads:
“RE: How Uduaghan Paid Obasanjo And Tribunal Judges Over N3 billion To Buy Election
Once again, Saharareporters which prides itself as Nigeria’s version of Wikileaks has aptly demonstrated its limitless capacity for mischief, amazing ignorance and unbridled determination to deny Nigeria and Nigerians their finest moment following the globally acclaimed transparent and fair elections held under the new leadership of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
While the famous Wikileaks publishes diplomatic dispatches unedited and devoid of any interpretation for the mainstream media to investigate, Saharareporters threw all the sacred ethics of journalism to the winds and embarked on mischievous interpretation of official documents and transactions they lacked the capacity to comprehend.
In its August 4, 2011 posting, Saharareporters alleged that Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, governor of Delta State, “paid Obasanjo and Tribunal judges over N3 billion” to buy a favourable verdict on the election re-run of January 11, 2011.
We are sure that Saharareporters and their sponsor(s) knew that they were wildly trading in fiction and lurid negative inventions in making that unsubstantiated allegation. Just the same way the general public can also hazard a guess to who their sponsors are. But interestingly, we are sure they know that there was no atom of truth in the allegation although it works to harness their desperate and well-exploited tactics of trading lies to besmear the Uduaghan government for their self-serving interest .
Anyway, here are the facts for the unsuspecting reading public:
JUNE 15, 2010 TRANSFER OF N778,600,000 TO MANAGER, WEMA BANK
1. The Delta State Government has a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Obasanjo Farms Limited to constitute a company called “OFN-Delta Farms Limited” with the initial farm site located at Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area. Delta State has one third equity in the company while Obasanjo Farms holds the balance two thirds equity contribution.
The Delta State Executive Council had approved 200 hectares of land and N778,600,000 payment as one third equity contribution to the project in 2010.
2. Consequently, the said payment is Delta State Government’s contribution in line with the MoU and the state’s Executive Council resolution.
3. This same Cheque was publicly displayed by the Governor at a well attended press conference in Asaba in 2010.
OCEANIC BANK’S CHEQUE FOR N2,418,223,328.96 DATED 30/06/11 IN FAVOUR OF “MANAGER OCEANIC BANK CALL ACCOUNT”.
1. As part of the Sate Government’s Treasury Management Policy, idle funds in the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) are invested on short term call basis to earn interest in favour of the State Government.
The authority flows from the Financial Regulation and the Annual Budget for 2011.
2. Oceanic Bank was directed to place the sum of N2,418,223,328.96 on call for seven days at five percent interest rate on June 30, 2011.
3. On July 7, 2011, Oceanic Bank was instructed to liquidate the said sum back into the FAAC Account. This was promptly executed.
4. Interest amounting to N849,539.11 was earned for Delta State Government during the seven days call period.
SALIENT POINTS TO NOTE
1. The said Wema Bank cheque was issued June 15, 2010 at a time the election of Gov Uduaghan had not been annulled.
2. The Governor’s election was only annulled on November 9, 2010.
3. The Re-run election was conducted on the 6th of January, 2011.
4. Saharareporters in its display of ignorance of established banking transactions and or sheer mischief did not know that cash placed on call cannot be withdrawn as they reported.
1.The Governor could only have offered a bribe in June 2010, if he had powers to foresee the annulment of his election, the re-run election and the litigation.
At a time that Nigeria is having its moment in the international community following the transparent and fair manner the election re-run and the April 2011 general elections were conducted, this wild and baseless report by Saharareporters is an unabashed, reckless and a desperate bid by reactionary and opposition forces intent on using any means to hold back Delta’s match towards greatness.
Despite these efforts, Gov. Uduaghan remains focused and undistracted in delivering his promise.
CHIKE C. OGEAH Esq.
Commissioner for Information