Basic Education Projects: Ortom Warns Against Diversion Of Funds

Samuel-OrtomThe Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has warned against the diversion of the 7.6 billion Naira Basic Education Intervention Fund raised to rehabilitate primary schools across the state.

Gov. Ortom gave the warning in Makurdi, during the commissioning of Seven new hilux vans and eighty one motorcycles for monitoring of ongoing construction work at some dilapidated primary schools.

The Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, expressed hope that the project when completed, will add value to school age children with the state record of over Six hundred thousand primary school drop out.

While pledging to supervise the school rehabilitation project, the Executive Chairman of SUBEB, urged the government to beginning the process of  accessing the over 1billion Naira UBEC 2016 grant.

However, Governor Samuel warned the contractors and project managers, that none of the project should fail due to corruption.

Falana Petitions EFCC On Abacha Loot

Abacha LootA Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate how $4 billion recovered from former military Head of State, General Sani Abacha was spent by the federal government.

The human rights activist wants the EFCC to specifically confirm the actual amount recovered from the Abacha loot and the extent of the alleged diversion of the said loot by former Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki and others.

The Lagos lawyer, who made this request in a petition dated December 18, 2015, and which was sent to the anti-graft agency, said that “unless the Abacha loot is fully accounted for, the Buhari administration will find it difficult to receive the cooperation of many governments in the ongoing efforts to recover the stolen wealth of the country”.

He also said, “Following the death of the then military Head of State, General Sani Abacha on June 8, 1998, his successor, General Abdulsalami Abubakar  ordered a  probe into the looting of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 1993-1998.

“At the end of the enquiry it was established that the late dictator stole about $5 billion from the vaults of the CBN through his National Security Adviser, Mr Mohammed Gwazo. A substantial part of the stolen fund has since been traced to over 140 bank accounts in western countries and some remote islands in the world.

“Based on the report of the investigations, the Federal Government recovered $635 million, £75 million, DM 30 million and N9 billion as well as several vehicles and properties in Abuja, Lagos and Kano together with 40% interests in West African Refinery in Sierra Leone.

“At page 495 of the second volume of  his book entitled  “My Watch” former President Obasanjo stated that “…by the time I left office in May 2009, over $2 billion and £100 million had been recovered from the Abacha family abroad, and well as  N10 billion in cash and properties locally.

“Under the Goodluck Jonathan Administration the recovery efforts continued and over $1 billion was recovered.

“But in a desperate bid to cover up the gross mismanagement and criminal diversion of the Abacha loot, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had repeatedly maintained that only $500 million had been recovered by the federal government.

“To lend credence to the fraudulent claim, the World Bank confirmed in a reply to an enquiry by SERAP that the $500 million recovered from the loot had been judiciously spent on some phantom development projects in several parts of the country.

“But following the recent revelation by the online tabloid, Premium Times that a substantial part of the loot had been criminally diverted, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has admitted that she transferred $322 million from the Abacha loot to former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki to prosecute the war on terror.

“Apart from the said sum of £322 million, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala also released £5.5 million pounds to Col. Dasuki.

“Mrs Okonjo-Iweala’s excuse that the said sum of $322 million was released due to the urgency of the crisis in the north east region is untenable having regards to the fact that former President Jonathan had sought the approval of the National Assembly to take a loan of $1 billion to equip the armed forces to fight insurgency.

“Therefore, the self-induced urgency created by Mrs Okonjo-Iweala is not a justification for spending public funds without appropriation. It may interest you to know that the sum of $500 million allegedly spent on development projects was also not appropriated by the National Assembly.”

Federal Executive Council Meeting Postponed      

Executive Council The Federal Executive Council meeting earlier scheduled for Friday morning has been postponed till Monday, December 21.

Channels TV correspondent reports that most of the ministers had arrived before they were informed about the postponement.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, told newsmen that the postponement was to allow the ministers reflect on some of the corrections made on the 2016 budget proposal during a meeting of the National Economic Council held on Thursday.

“We are being given time between now and Monday to go and rejig our figures because when the National Economic Council met yesterday, certain issues were thrown up which if not resolved will distort the entire budget proposal.

” So we are all going to get back on areas in which each ministry will go and do its own rejigging,” he said.

Abacha Loot: NEC Puts Figure At $26.4m And £19m

AbachaThe National Economic Council says the loots recovered from late General Sanni Abacha now stands at $26.4 million and £19 million as at November.

At the end of the Council meeting on Thursday, presided over by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, gave reporters the figures.

Earlier in the meeting the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, presented the figures.

Mr Idris said the dollar account, as at November 2015 ending, had a balance of $26.389 million while the pounds sterling account had a balance of £19. 033 million.

The Accountant General also reported to the Council that the ECA stood at $2.257 billion as at the end of November, 2015.

Also giving the Council an update on the nation’s economy, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, pointed out that the drop in oil price had put a serious pressure on the country’s reserve which currently stands at $29 billion.

He also put the interest on the account at $599 million.

The Minister of National Planning, Udo Udoma, also told reporters that his ministry had presented the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and the Fiscal Strategy Paper, which highlight government’s fiscal policy strategy and direction for the next three years, to the Council.

He urged the states to adopt the MTEF and FSP which had now been approved by the national assembly.