EXCLUSIVE: PARIS CLUB: Gov. Okowa Diverts N3 Billion For 2019, Trades With Council Allocations For Huge Interests

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Ahead of the 2019 general elections, governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state has allegedly diverted a whopping sum of N3 billion from the N10 billion Paris Club Refund second tranche recently disbursed by the Federal Government to state governments which Delta state ranked among the first five highest paid states.

The Paris Club Refund was to enable states offset outstanding salaries and pensions, but unlike Ekiti state and others, governor Okowa has not deemed it fit to come out with modalities on how to disburse the money.

Speaking to HardReporters on the condition of anonymity, a director at the state ministry of finance, revealed that governor Okowa has allegedly diverted the sum of N3 billion from the N10 billion Paris Club Refund.

“I can tell you without fear of favour that the governor has earmarked a whooping sum of N3 billion into a private account ahead of the 2019 gubernatorial race to stage his come back to government house. The governor has concluded plans to pay less than five months salaries to local government workers.” the director said.

HardReporters impeccable source close to the office of the Accountant General (AG) who do not want her names mentioned simply said, “Governor Okowa has earmarked N3 billion into a secret account for 2019 election. Go to the finance ministry and the AG’s office, the issue is been discussed in hushed tones in groups.”

Calls and messages sent to the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah and the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Governor, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, for clarification were rebuffed rather Ukah directed one of his staff who claimed to be the ministry’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) to respond to our queries on the Paris Club Refund.

In the PRO’s response through a text message, said the allegation was not true.

“Good evening, the Commissioner for Information forwarded a message from you requesting clearance on diversion of 3 billion naira from the Paris club refund. I wish to state that it was not true. However it would be appreciated if you reveal your source of information. Thanks, P.R.O Ministry of Information.”

HardReporters could recalled that last week at the state post exco briefing, the Information Commissioner, Mr. Patrick Ukah had bragged that details of how the N10 billion was spent shall be forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Meanwhile in another development, local government council chairmen have accused governor Ifeanyi Okowa of using council allocations to trade with banks.

Confiding in HardReporters correspondent, a council chairman from Delta central senatorial district disclosed that whenever allocations are released from the federation account, governor Okowa will deposit the allocations into private accounts for a period of two weeks and above as the case may be so as to yield huge interests to himself.

According to another council chairman, “That has been the tradition of governor Okowa. Once allocations are received, JAAC meetings are not called immediately until the money he deposited into private accounts have yielded a considerable interest. We stay for like two to three weeks even above before we go for JAAC meetings and since he came in as a governor this has been happening.” the council boss revealed.

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