No Gov Indicted over Paris Club loan reimbursement – EFCC

Contrary to reports by an online medium that governors of the 36 states of the federation and Senate President Bukola Saraki pocketed large slices of funds approved by the Federal Government to reimburse states for the excessive deductions charged to them on account of the Paris Club and other international loans; the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFFCC) has refuted the reports describing it “as untrue.” It was reported that the Governors’ Forum received a large sum of the funds alleging that some of the governors got as much as N400 million, while Mr. Saraki carted away N2.5 billion. Reacting to the story, the EFCC said that no state governor or Senate President has been
indicted so far by the investigation which was still at a preliminary stage, adding, “insinuations about cover up by some officials of the Commission are untrue as there is no incentive to do so.” According to the Commission, the report among others claimed that the Commission has indicted all the governors of the 36 states of the Federation and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki in the ongoing investigation of the reimbursement paid to state governments by the Federal Government for excessive deduction charged to them on account of the Paris Club and other international loans. The Commission implores the Media to be circumspect in the reportage of this delicate issue in order not to jeopardize ongoing investigation, and be assured that they would be fully briefed of developments as soon as breakthrough is achieved. The online medium further alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) paid the consultants to the Nigeria’s Governors Forum without informing the Accountant-General of the Federation. “Once paid, the consultants forwarded a part of their payment to the individual accounts of the governors, with some governors individually receiving as much as N400 million. Former officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance registered and floated two of the companies, GSCL Limited and Biztrust Limited, that masqueraded as consultants. “One of the sources on the investigation disclosed that Mr. Saraki was paid N2.5 billion through a finance consultancy run by one Mr. Okey Mbonu, a former managing director of Societe Generale Bank. Investigative team showed that the Nigerian Governors’ Forum received a total of N11, 550billion from the sum of N231billion that the Federal Government directed to be paid to states last December. Last week, agents of the EFCC investigating the illegal payments and subsequent transfer to governors’ personal accounts arrested Ashishana Okauru, Director-General of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum.”

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