Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
Enugu State Government and the Organised Labour on Tuesday dismissed as false, mischievous and a calculated attempt to deceive the people media reports that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi misapplied the Federal Government bailout fund meant for the payment of outstanding salaries, subventions and pensions for public servants of the state. In a report credited to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the commission wrongly stated that Enugu State collected the sum of ten billion, one hundred and seventy four million, two hundred and thirty eight thousand, six hundred and eighty one naira (N10,174,238,681.00) as bailout fund.
The commission further stated that the state government disbursed the sum of five billion, nine hundred and sixty seven million, two hundred and thirty eight thousand, six hundred and eighty one naira, nineteen kobo (N5,967,238,681.19) from the fund to “settle domestic debt and claimed that the funds for the payment of state salaries and emoluments was not yet accessed”. But in a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, Elder G.O.C. Ajah and made available to newsmen, the state government explained that it received the sum of four billion, two hundred and seven million naira only (N4,207,000,000.00) from the federal government as bailout fund for the settlement of outstanding salaries, subventions and pensions for public servants in the state.
“When the bailout fund was received, a dedicated bank account was opened for the fund and a committee comprising leaders of Organised Labour in the state, representatives of state government and pensioners, was set up by the Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to oversee the disbursement of the fund.
“So far, the sum of three billion, two hundred and eighty four million, seven hundred and twenty nine thousand, two hundred and fifty three naira, thirty eight kobo (N3,284,729,253.38) has been verified by the committee and disbursement is on-going. At the moment, the balance is nine hundred and twenty two million, two hundred and seventy thousand, seven hundred and forty six naira, sixty two kobo (N922,270,746.62) while the verification exercise for further payment continues.
“On the issue of Excess Crude Account (ECA) Infrastructure Development Loan facilitated by the federal government, the state government has disbursed the sum of five billion, three hundred and eighty seven million, five hundred and sixty nine thousand, nine hundred and thirty naira (5,387,569,930.00), leaving a balance of four billion, six hundred and twelve million, four hundred and thirty thousand and seventy naira (4,612,430,070.00).
“From the foregoing therefore, the Enugu State Government wishes to state categorically that it did not misapply the bailout fund of N4.207 billion received from the federal government and that the figures quoted in the said media reports are false and misleading in all material particulars,” the statement noted.
On its part, the Organised Labour in a statement issued by Comrade Virginus C. Nwobodo, chairman of NLC, Comrade Igbokwe Chukuma, chairman of TUC and Comrade Theo Obasiani, Secretary, JPSNC (TVS) equally dismissed the report noting that the governor from the onset involved them in the management of the bailout fund.
“The Organised Labour in Enugu State is embarrassed by the false, unfounded and malicious publication purported to have emanated from the office Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC). The publication is a deliberate attempt to instigate workers and good people of Enugu State against the State Government as well as tarnish the good image of the State.
“We urge the media to always verify and cross check their information before publication to avoid misleading the public. The Organised Labour in Enugu State is totally satisfied with the management of the N4.207 billion bailout fund for payment of arrears of pension and salaries and will continue to partner the State Government for good governance and sustainable development,” they noted.