By Chuks Okocha
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday called on the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, to immediately come clean on reports in the public space that N4.6 billion public funds was allegedly funneled into private accounts during his tenure as Minister of Power, Works and Housing.
The party also charged the Muhammadu Buhari presidency to speak out on the report which it said has further exposed the rot and humongous corruption going on in ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) under its watch, despite the much orchestrated anti-corruption stance and “holier than thou” attitude of its officials.
The PDP in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said Nigerians were shocked by the revelations that between September and December 2019 alone, “the sum of N4.6 billion was allegedly stolen through fraudulent payments in 654 tranches, without any explanatory details to 21 private accounts belonging to some faceless individuals and certain directors in the then Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, under Fashola.”
PDP further stated that it is indeed appalling and of course revealing that such huge fraud, which is in direct contravention of Sections 7, 701 and 713 of the country’s financial regulations reportedly occurred under Fashola’s watch.
According to the PDP, section 713 of the 1999 constitution (as amended) clearly provides that no “public money shall be paid into a private bank account” and that “any official who pays public money into a private account is deemed to have done so with fraudulent intentions.”
The PDP urged Nigerians to note that the pattern and route of the fraud pointed to a high level conspiracy to funnel out funds from the ministry to service some higher interests, which must be unraveled and the funds immediately recovered.
According to the party, “Nigerians can now see why the country’s power, housing and road infrastructure had remained in shambles despite the huge resources allocated for their development under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“The public can now see how officials in the Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration are recklessly plundering and looting resources meant for national development, and blaming it on past administrations.”
The main opposition party said Nigerians now know why the country has been reduced to a beggarly nation, and why resources never get to projects they were voted for under the APC leadership.
The party asked: “If a whooping N4.6 billion is exposed to have been stolen in a space of two months in one ministry, one can only imagine how much has been stolen in the last five years in various ministries and departments by officials of the Buhari administration.”
Moreover, PDP noted that the silence by Fashola and the Buhari presidency over ‘this very weighty revelation’ is heightening apprehensions of complicity in the public space.