The state Judicial Commission of Inquiry questions the where about of N6.5 billion received from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme SURE-P.
The state Judicial Commission of Inquiry has questioned the where about of N6.5 billion received from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme SURE-P between May 2012 and December 2014 by the Benue state government.
The Commission which received memo from the Office of the Head of Service yesterday wondered why funds received for the programme were surplus but staff enrolled under the scheme was owed several months.
According to the Commission though a total N7.7 billion was said to have been received between May 2012 to December 2014, only N1.2 billion was given as expenditure from the funds.But Permanent Secretary in the office of the HOS Mr. Joseph E. Oko who was summoned by the commission to explain the situation said it was not in the power of the office to explain what happened to the difference of N6.5 billion from the funds.
He noted that he could only account for the N25 million allocated to the office of the Head of Service insisted that the Ministry of finance was in best position to explain how much was received and expended under the SURE-P scheme.
“I cannot explain the where about of the money and how much money was expended from the funds because it is the Ministry of Finance that receieved all the money from the federal government and it was also responsible in payment of staff employed under the programme.”
“Even the total figure of both the amount received and expended as we presented to you were supplied to us by the ministry of finance so they are in a better position to explain the detail expenditure of the funds and why staff employed under the scheme were being owed,” he noted.
Mr. Oko explained that though a committee was set by the past government headed by the HOS to handle the SUREP project, he was retired by the present administration and most of the members who were commissioners also left at the end of the last administration.
On why they could not terminate the scheme when it was obviously that they could not pay staff, he said, “before the expiry of the Suswam’s administration we presented a memo on the issue and the State Executive Council decided that those employed under graduate internship be converted and given permanent appointment with the state civil service.”
– John Shiaondo, Makurdi