The Plateau State House of Assembly has launched a probe on the whereabouts of
About N5 billion suspected to be missing from the account of the Plateau state government has brought Governor Jonah Jang under probe.
The said N5 billion was the state’s share of the Subsidy Reinvestment Programme (SURE-P) received by the Governor Jonah Jang-led administration between January 2012 till date.
According to the legislators, the probe became necessary, following public outcry alleging that the funds may have been misappropriated by the state government considering the fact that the programme had not taken off in the state in spite of monthly disbursement of funds to the state.
Following this, Speaker of the assembly, Hon. John Clark Dabwan, was said to have set up an ad hoc committee of the assembly to investigate the alleged missing funds.
The eight-man ad hoc committee chaired by Hon. Dalyop Mancha, while submitting its report to the assembly last week, expressed reservation over the refusal of the state government officials, who appeared before it to disclose details of the bank accounts of the SURE-P funds.
The committee, however, applauded the state Commissioner for Finance, Hon. Davo Mang, who confirmed before the committee that the state receive the sum N218 million monthly, beginning from January 2012, as state share of the SURE-P fund from the federal government.
The accumulated sums received by the state government so far was put at about N3 billion.
The ad hoc committee also found out that the state government has been receiving N146 million monthly on behalf of its 17 local governments from January 2012 accumulating to over N2 billion till date.
The state and local government’s share of the SURE-P funds, as confirmed by the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr. Paul Wai, as well as the state’s Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Hon. Emmanuel Loman, have been channelled to the state government through the Federation Account Committee (FAC) on monthly basis.
The state and local government share received so far was put at about N5 billion.
The chairman of the committee also lamented that in spite of several requests made by the committee, Mang and the state Accountant General, Mr. Boyi Sauka, both failed to let the committee into the details of the account.
“The government officials who appeared before us claimed that the said fund has not been misappropriated by the state government and that the fund is intact, but they however failed to provide us with the bank’s statement and detail of bank transactions to substantiate their claims.
“The committee also report with sadness the failure of federal, zonal and state coordinators of SURE-P to appear before the committee. The committee, however, confirmed that the SURE-P coordinators used to report to the state commissioner for finance and state accountant general,” Mang said.
The committee said the only way the state government could show transparency in the management of the SURE-P account was for it, through its commissioner of finance and state accountant general, to make the bank statements available for the House to enable it appropriate the fund accordingly.
Dabwan said: “We plead for the understanding of the Executive on this issue, people who elected us are worried that SURE-P programme is running in other states of the federation, but nothing is happening in Plateau State. So, we plead with relevant government agencies to feed us with all that is required so that we can report back to people of our constituencies because we are talking of public fund here.”
The speaker also commended his colleagues, who served in the ad-hoc committee for a job well done. He referred the report to relevant standing committee of the house to continue the investigation.
In a swift reaction to the allegation, an Executive Assistance to the governor, Mr Clinton Garuba, assured that the money was intact, adding that the state government had zero-tolerance to corruption and would definitely not tamper with public fund.