UDUAGHAN DEBUNKS N3BN ELECTORAL JUDGMENT PURCHASE REPORT
Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan has debunked media report alleging he had paid N3 billion to former President Olusegun Obasanjo and tribunal judges to buy favourable verdict on the election re-run of January 11, 2011.
The governor, who was enraged at the reports exclusively published by a Nigerian online media, described the report as mischievous, a willful attempt to distort facts in order to mislead Nigerians.
A statement issued by the governor's chief press secretary said it would have been proper to ignore authors of the report but for the weight of the allegations and the urgent need to set the facts straight.
In its August 4, 2011 posting, the online medium (name withheld) had alleged that the Delta State governor paid Obasanjo and tribunal judges over N3 billion to buy a favourable verdict on the election re-run of January 11, 2011, citing N778.6 million transferred to Wema Bank on June 15, 2010 and N2.418 billion invested in Oceanic Bank on short term call basis as their evidence.
In his explanation, the statement stated that the Delta State Government had 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, in which the state had one third equity in the company, while Obasanjo Farms held the balance of two third equity contribution.
For this purpose, the State Executive Council had approved 200 hectares of land and N778,600,000 payment as one third equity contribution to the project in 2010. The said transfer of N778.6 million is Delta State Government's contribution in line with the MoU and the state's Executive Council resolution.
On the Oceanic Bank N2.418 billion cheque dated June 30, 2011, in favour of manager, Oceanic Bank Call Account, the statement explained that the money was idle fund placed on call that could not be withdrawn as they reported but could yield reasonable interest in a short period.
'As part of the state 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. 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.
'On July 7, 2011, Oceanic Bank was instructed to liquidate the said sum back into the FAAC Account. This was promptly executed. Interest amounting to N849,539.11 was earned for Delta State Government during the seven days call period', the release stated.
The statement pointed out that since the governor's election was annulled on November 9, 2010, the allegation could not have been true as the monies cited were issued on much earlier date than the annulment and subsequent re-run election.
'The said Wema Bank cheque was issued June 15, 2010 at a time the election of Gov Uduaghan had not been annulled. The Governor's election was only annulled on November 9, 2010. 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.
'Authors of the report, in their display of ignorance of established banking transactions or sheer mischief did not know that cash placed on call cannot be withdrawn as they reported', the statement concluded.
It regretted that 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 was published adding that it was a desperate bid by reactionary and opposition forces intent on using any means to hold back Delta's match towards greatness.