The Senate Committee on States and Local Government Administration has given Cross River Government five days ultimatum to submit a comprehensive report on how it expended the N7.856 billion bailout funds meant for salary arrears.
The committee gave the directive in Calabar while investigating alleged misappropriation of the bailout funds given to the state.
The visit to Calabar was part of the committee’s nation-wide probe of states that accessed the funds to offset workers’ salary arrears.
The Chairman of the committee, Sen. Abdullahi Gumel, while interfacing with the Cross River State Executive Council members, said the allegations of misappropriation levelled against the state were enormous.
He assured the committee would not rest on its oars, until it carried thorough investigation into the matter in the state and 29 other states which accessed the fund.
The lawmaker stressed that the committee had interfaced with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Ministry of Finance to get reports on the debt profile of the state before proceeding on the investigation.
While expressing dissatisfaction with explanations given by the Accountant General of the state, Joseph Adie, Gumel directed him to submit a comprehensive report on the disbursement of the funds on or before Friday, Jan. 20, to the committee’s Clerk.
He added that “your explanation is clumsy. We need a comprehensive report’’.
Earlier, the Deputy Governor of the State, Prof. Ivara Esu, said the state government would be willing to provide necessary information on how it expended the funds.
He pointed out that Cross River State was one of the few states not owing workers’ salaries.
“Cross River does not owe pensioners. We do not owe salaries. We have no complaints and monies given to us have not been misappropriated.
“When other states were owing eight months, we were owing two months and that made us to regret because we got much less.
“What we got we utilised but the Accountant General will give you the report. If you have any questions you can ask him,’’ he said.
Cross River collected N7.856 billion as bailout fund. However, the state allegedly disbursed N3.140 billion, leaving a balance of N4.715 billion.