Yekini Jimoh in Lokoja
The Kogi State Government has said the salaries of the state Deputy Governor, Chief Simon Achuba, have been paid up to the same date as that of the governor and other political office holders in the state.
The Director General of Media and Publicity to the state governor, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, who stated this in a statement issued yesterday, said they are ready to meet him in court to ventilate his alleged grievances.
According to the statement, the claim for salaries at paragraph 4 of the letter of demand was done to generate sensational headlines in the news “as there is no stated salary arrears in the prepared breakdown of claimed entitlements attached to the letter of demand.”
The statement read: “The salaries of the deputy governor have not been stopped at any time since he came to office.
“The sum of N786, 427,480 of the outrageous N819, 709,980 claimed by the deputy governor has not been approved let alone processed for payment by the state government.
“The deputy governor is aware that by the virtue of extant financial regulations, even where expenditures are provided for in the budget, they are still subject to approvals based on an estimation that funds to defray will be available, and where they are approved, the release of such funds still depends on the availability of funds.
“The deputy governor is also aware that those expenditures may not be approved or that lesser sums may be approved based on the availability of funds. The claims of the deputy governor in this regard are therefore premature and mischievous.
“Of the N819, 709,980 claimed by the deputy governor, there are expenditures such as unauthorised pledges running into N23, 200, which are not provided for in the corresponding budgets of the relevant year. Also included are claims for unauthorised trips of the deputy governor and his wife as well as other expenses which may or may not be approved, yet the deputy governor has claimed them as due for payment.
“Of the whooping N819, 709,980 claimed by the deputy governor, only N33, 282, 500 has been approved for payment.
“While these have been approved for payment, the deputy governor knows the very stiff competition for the state meagre resources-wage bill, loan repayments, infrastructure bills among others, and the need to ration scarce resources to serve the majority of our people rather than a few.
“It is therefore not deliberate that these approvals have not been cash-backed. It is hoped that resources will become available shortly to meet not only these demands but those of others which have not been cash-backed for longer periods than those of the deputy governor.”
The statement added: “We note that the deputy governor has also in his claims included impress. It is our position that it is the office of the deputy governor and the permanent secretary in his office that are entitled to impress and who can demand payment of same. It must also be noted that impress is paid on availability of funds, and the state government has in the past paid impress as at when due when funds were available. The payment of impress will continue to all impress holders as soon as funds are available.
“While we are certain that the deputy governor’s claims are frivolous, bogus and borne out of mischief and an attempt to embarrass the state government where he currently serves and draws immense benefits, we reiterate our readiness should he want to proceed to court to ventilate his alleged grievances.”