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UBEC funds: Abdulfatah denies diversion of funds

Says we borrow N1.045b from SUBEB for the payment of salaries

From Richard Adejare

The immediate past Governor of Kwara state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, Saturday refuted allegations that his government mismanaged Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC counterpart funds.

In a statement titled ‘No Mismanagement on my Watch’ issued by his spokesman, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, reacting to allegations that the former administration mismanaged funds, Alhaji Ahmed absolved his government of any wrongdoing regarding mismanagement of UBEC funds.

News Hub Mag! recalls that officials of UBEC had revealed on Thursday during Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq’s visit to their headquarters in Abuja, that Kwara state was blacklisted over diversion of N1.5b funds by the previous administration of Governor Ahmed.

The agency said the state was blacklisted because the then government mismanaged the N1.5b grant meant to upgrade schools in Kwara in 2013.

They told Governor Abdulrazaq that the sum of N1.5b was allotted to Kwara in 2013 with a request for the state to pay another N1.5b as counterpart funding, but it was later discovered that the state government borrowed the N1.5b from a bank with which it immediately accessed the UBEC fund.

Upon receipt of the UBEC ‘s N1.5b, the then administration in the state returned the N1.5b it had borrowed from the bank and then diverted the UBEC’s N1.5b without investing it in educational infrastructure as required by law, the officials alleged.

But in his reaction weekend, Dr Akorede who debunked the allegations, said the agency essentially cancelled a N2.090b grant to the state when the state government borrowed from SUBEB its 50 percent counterpart funds of N1.045b for the payment of salaries at the height of the 2015 economic recession which prevented most states in Nigeria from meeting salary obligations to workers.

He claimed the government’s temporary borrowing of the counterpart funds for salaries was based on its concern for workers welfare and a commitment to repay from then expected refunds from the Federal government.

He explained that the administration had refunded part of the money but was prevented from paying the balance of N450m from the funds received by the government in the last days of its tenure due to its accounts being frozen.

Dr. Akorede said the school projects implemented with the partly refunded grant were available for verification at the appropriate government agency but denied knowledge of UBEC blacklisting the state government during the former administration’s tenure.

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