The Kogi State House of Assembly has put a lie to allegations that Governor Yahaya Bello misappropriated N20 billion and accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of an attempt to tarnish the image of the Governor.
Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Matthew Kolawole, who made reference to report of House Committee on Public Accounts, which investigated the matter, therefore, demanded that the EFCC to tender an apology to the Governor.
Consequently, the State House of Assembly passed a vote of Confidence on Governor Yahaya Bello for financial frugality in the management of state resources.
The development followed the adoption of a motion by the Speaker, Mr Matthew Kolawole during plenary at Lokoja.
Speaking on the motion read on his behalf by Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Mohammed (APC-Ankpa I), Kolawole said it was common knowledge that payment of salaries in the state was a serious problem prior to the inception of Bello’s administration.
The speaker said that the situation prompted the immediate past administration to apply for a bailout from the Federal Government.
“Although N50 billion was approved by federal government, it could not be accessed until Bello came into office in 2016.
“Bello applied for the release of the fund which the President granted in tranches.
“The federal government in the last tranche, approved a N20 billion bailout loan through the Central Bank of Nigeria and disbursed through Sterling Bank Plc and used in paying salaries in 2019,” he said.
Kolawole said that following allegations that the N20 billion was drawn by the government without utilising it for what it was meant for, he instructed the Public Accounts Committee of the House to investigate the disbursement.
“The committee established in its report that there was no truth in the allegation, as the bailout facility had been totally drawn by October 2019.
“Consequently, it is clear that the actions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was an attempt to tarnish the image of Bello and distract him.
“My distinguished colleagues, it is now on record that Sterling Bank Plc on Sept.1, in an official response to a demand letter from Kogi government refuted the EFCC’s allegation in totality,’’ he said.
The Speaker urged that the EFCC to tender a public apology to the governor and the government for the embarrassment and urged the House to pass a vote of confidence on him. Ruling, Kolawole said the public account committee of the House did a thorough job and wondered why money meant for payment of workers’ salaries should be kept in a fixed deposit account.