388BIL PARIS CLUB REFUND: 7 GOVERNORS SHARED 19BIL NAIRA

Seven governors have questions to answer in the alleged diversion of part of the N388.304billion London-Paris Club refunds into two accounts opened by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), The Nation has learnt.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered N19billion in one of the accounts. The other is a domiciliary account, which contains a yet unspecified amount of money.

One of those invited for interrogation has admitted handing over a huge sum of money to a principal officer of the National Assembly after changing it into dollars, according to the preliminary report on the management of the refunds.

According to a source, who pleaded not to be named because he is not permitted to talk to the media, EFCC detectives discovered that while about 2% of the funds was paid to consultants who allegedly assisted in computing what was due to each state, 3% was shared by some governors under “curious circumstances”.

The source said: “The detectives have uncovered the two accounts opened in the name of the NGF and the signatories to same.

“We are looking into circumstances behind such huge deposits from London-Paris Club refunds into these accounts.

“The payment of 2% of the refunds to consultants and 3% to some governors which was rated as “curious” by investigators have been confirmed. We also discovered that some of the governors nominated these consultants.”

The source declined to name the seven governors, stressing that the details will be released as soon as the investigation is concluded.

Responding to a question, the source said one of those questioned actually admitted that he changed some of the funds into dollars and handed it over to a principal officer of the National Assembly.

Besides, he insisted that the EFCC had no any agenda against the governors, adding: “It has no basis to run the NGF down at all, but you should know that the Presidency is interested in how these London-Paris Club refunds were spent.

“We know the governors have immunity, but certainly NGF does not enjoy such constitutional protection. We are looking at what informed the transfer of such funds into the accounts of the NGF and for what purposes.

“Once the purposes are in line with statutory financial regulations and the EFCC is satisfied, the case is closed. But where there are cases of diversion and stealing of public funds, the law will take its course.”

The Federal Government released N388.304billion of the N522.74 billion funds to 35 states as refunds of overdeductions on London-Paris Club loans.

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