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Group Demands Suspension of Bailout money to Katsina state governor

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aminu bello masari*Calls for CBN investigation of State Governor’s claims* 

A group, Civil Society Network against Corruption (CSNAC) has demanded of the Federal Government to

suspend bailout to the president’s State, Katsina.

In a letter addressed to the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, chairman of the network, Olanrewaju Suraju alleged that Aminu Bello Masari [picture above], misrepresented facts and the true financial status of his State, claiming fictitious indebtedness to public workers of the State in order to fraudulently and undeservedly benefit to the tune of N11 billion Naira from the intervention fund.

He therefore demanded of the CBN governor for “immediate suspension of granting such bailout Loan to Katsina State in particular, pending conclusion of a wholistic investigation of the State Governor’s controversial claims.”

Below are the details of the petition:

 

REQUEST FOR INVESTIGATION OF GOVERNOR AMINU BELLO MASARI’S ALLEGED FRAUDULENT REQUEST FOR N11BILLION AS BAILOUT FUND

Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.

Following the inability of most states of the federation to pay workers’ salaries for months unending, the Federal Government approved the sum of N338 billion as bailout fund for the insolvent states, under the heavy burden of debt and unpaid staff salaries, to enable them meet their obligations of wages and burgeoning interest on bank loans.

In its publication of September 8, 2015, Premium Times reported that the Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari, misrepresented facts and the true financial status of his State, claiming fictitious indebtedness to public workers of the State in order to fraudulently and undeservedly benefit to the tune of N11 billion (eleven billion Naira) from the intervention fund.

The report further stated that in a letter to the speaker of the Katsina State House of Assembly, titled “Outstanding Salary for Workers of the State and Local Governments” with reference number S/SGKT/154/3 and dated August 26, 2015, Mr. Masari claimed that on his assumption of office on May 29, his government inherited, two months outstanding salaries of the State’s Civil Servants and Local Government employees, from the previous Ibrahim Shema administration.

According to the report, he then demanded, “I would like to request for the Honourable House’s consent for the State government to collaborate with the Central Bank of Nigeria for a Bail Out of outstanding workers’ salary in the State and Local governments”. 

“Mr Speaker may wish to know that at the time of the take-off of this administration, the State and Local Governments in the State owed workers two months’ salary to the tune of N11,086,632,741.32 broken down as follows: Katsina State: N3,646,943,099.80; 34 local government councils: N7,439,689,641.32; Total: N11,086,632,741,.32.

“It is in the view of the need for the State Government and Local Governments to meet their obligation in the payment of outstanding workers’ salary, considering the lean resources inherited from the former administration that it has become necessary for the State Government to apply for the bail out on behalf of the State and Local Governments”.

However, the report has alleged these claims to be false.  Katsina state was not originally listed as one of the insolvent states and all workers in the services of both the State and Local Governments had their full salaries paid up till May, when Mr. Masari became Governor. 

Premium Times stated further that the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Abdul Labaran, confirmed that workers were not owed and that their salaries had been completely paid up to August.

From the foregoing, this is an alleged case of attempted fraud and corruption which the administration of President Buhari is working tirelessly to stem its tide.  This action by a Governor of the President’s State tends to cast serious aspersion on the President’s anti-corruption drive. 

With Central Bank’s vested mandate of vetting and approving bailout for each state, after meeting certain conditions, we therefore by this petition request that a thorough investigation be conducted into this allegation as stated above, and other likely States, in order to ensure a full recovery of any fund that might have been fraudulently received on the basis of false claims by some States.

We look forward to your action with immediate suspension of granting such bailout Loan to Katsina State in particular, pending conclusion of an wholistic investigation of the State Governor’s controversial claims.


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