Niger-Delta gov in N200b fraud

A monumental fraud involving a whopping sum of about N200billion is presently rocking one of the states in the Niger-Delta region of the country

A monumental fraud involving a whopping sum of about N200billion is presently rocking one of the states in the Niger-Delta region of the country.

The fraud, sources disclosed, was perpetrated following the release of the excess crude oil money which accrued to the state from the Federation Account.

The excess crude oil money, which sources disclosed was well over 300billion, was released to the state in 2004 to tackle the intractable problems of infrastructure, poverty and environmental degradation that were ravaging the region.

Upon the receipt of the money, the state governor was said to have hurriedly prepared separate supplementary budgets for the year 1999, 2000,2001,2002,2003, and 2004 without passing through the plenary nor the executive session, of the State House of Assembly.

The supplementary budgets, which were different from the supplementary budgets presented to the House, were passed the same day in 2004. Sources further explained that a former Secretary to the State Government, who was a technocrat, was hurriedly sacked when it was obvious to the governor that he would not do his bidding. Another SSG was later appointed to carry out the fraudulent practice, where over N200billion was siphoned from the state’s treasury in one day.

One curious thing about the six-year-supplementary budgets sent by the governor to the House was that the entire budgets were dated the same day. Similarly, supplementary budgets were said to have been raised for the year 2005 and 2006, while sources disclosed that an initial supplementary budget of about N33billion had been approved by the House in 2005, another supplementary budget of about N39 billion was also approved for the same year through the back door.

The last straw that broke the camel’s back, sources disclosed, was when the governor brought another N28billion supplementary budget for the year 2006, different from the one earlier approved. The leadership of the House was said to have raised an alarm but the governor, the source said, told them that N28billion was in honour of a directive from the “Higher Authority”. The governor was said to have explained that the money was meant to facilitate the election expenses of a particular presidential aspirant.

The state House of Assembly was said to have contacted the ‘Higher Authority’ who denied ever given such directive to the governor. Already, the source said the ‘Higher Authority’ was said to have shown interest in the case and has invited the governor for questioning.

Sources further stated that the governor, who had returned part of the money stolen to the state treasury, was said to have perfected plans with a notable businessman in the country, who is said to be helping the governor to invest most of the money stolen from the state.