Determined to cleanse Nigeria from corruption, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Mr. Nta Ekpo to commence investigation on how bailout funds to states to clear civil servants’ salaries were allegedly diverted.
A highly placed source in the office of the HOD investigation of ICPC during the weekend told Nigerian Pilot that the Chairman of the commission has already assembled the team that will investigate the allegations of diversion of bailout funds for Imo state following the arrest of top civil servants in the state last week particularly in the account section.BUHARI NEW
According to the source, the investigative panel for Benue state will swing into action this week where the secretary to the state Government Barrister Tagema Takema, the Commissioner of Finance, Accountant General of the state and other prominent civil servants will be telling the operatives of the ICPC how the bailout fund was allegedly diverted.
The source further added that the President is not happy particularly with the Governor’s of Imo, Rochas Okorocha, Benue, Samuel Ortom and Osun Rauf Aregbesola being APC governors for allegedly squandering bailout funds meant to clear salaries of civil servants in the affected states which are currently being owed for more than four months. He added that the President had last week promised that he was going to use them as an example; particularly, Benue and Imo states who allegedly diverted money meant for the payment of workers’ salaries.
The ICPC operative also told Nigerian Pilot that the commission will be visiting Osun state as soon they are done with Benue ( the investigations and interrogation is going to be batch by batch).
This is according to a report by ICPC, signed by Mustapha Hussain on behalf of the Commissioner, Public Enlightenment released previous week Friday in Abuja which monitored how states spent the N338bn bailout fund given to them by the Federal Government.
Nigerian Pilot recalled that Buhari had last year approved the sum of N338bn for 27 states that were unable to pay salaries. Some of the states had been unable to pay over 10 months’ salary arrears and pensions.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who heads the National Economic Council, had explained that the loan is repayable at an interest rate of nine per cent over a 20-year period and it is “solely for the purpose of paying the backlog of salaries.”
However, the report issued by the ICPC two weeks ago, showed that Benue and Imo states were found wanting, while a few other states were found to still be owing salaries, an indication that the funds may have been mismanaged.
The report comes less than a month after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arrested the Principal Secretary to the Governor, Dr. Pascal Obi and two others — Uzoho Casmir and Iheoma Kenneth — who were described by the EFCC as the director of finance and treasurer respectively.
The fresh report by the ICPC states that, “Imo State applied for and received bailout funds of N26, 806, 430, 000.00 from the Central Bank of Nigeria which were domiciled with two commercial banks namely Fidelity and Zenith banks.
In the course of analysis, it was discovered that some transfers were made into certain Imo State Government accounts which are not related to salaries and emoluments are as follows: N2bn paid into a Government Account; N2bn into an Imo State Project account; N2bn transferred into microfinance bank; and a management fee of N21, 017, 810.00 was paid into an unspecified account.”
According to the report also, Benue State received over N12bn that was meant for the payment of salaries but mysteriously paid over N70m into the account of the Office of the Deputy Governor.
The report states, “In Benue State, the total debt accrued from staff salaries and emoluments amounted to N12, 503, 439, 787. 48. The state received N12, 503, 439, 787.48 as bailout fund and disbursed N10, 852, 536, 702.96 with a balance of N1, 650, 903, 084.52.
Analysis of the documents submitted revealed a double payment of N37, 760, 000.00 in favour of the Office of the Deputy Governor. This double payment is presently being
In the case of Osun State, the ICPC stated that the state received N34.9bn as bailout and it disbursed N16.3bn. However, the report adds that the commission is investigating allegations that the state had not paid salaries since July 2015.
“The commission is verifying allegations that Osun State public servants have only been paid salaries up to July 2015,” the report states.
However, efforts by Nigerian Pilot to get the reaction of the Consultant to Osun State Government on Information, Mr. Sunday Akere, Mr Terver Akase, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor of Benue State and the Media Adviser to Governor Rochas Okorocha proved abortive as all their lines were switched off.
Already many states owe between six and 10 months’ salaries across the country.

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