The Edo State Government has said that allegations of suspicious transfer of funds levelled against it by Mr. George Uboh, of Whistleblowers Network, is a deliberate attempt to mislead the public.
In a statement issued by the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Joseph Eboigbe, and made available to journalists by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, the government noted that its “financial transaction processing is guided by the Public Financial Management and Fiscal Responsibility law, Financial Instructions and the Nigerian Constitution and not by the discretion of an individual.”
He emphasised that, “Accounting officers are obliged by oath to adhere to these guidelines in the management of public funds.”
On Uboh’s allegation that transfers running into billions of naira were made into eight (8) digit accounts, by the Edo State Government, the commissioner corrected: “This is a deliberate attempt to mislead the public. Electronic transfers are only possible on a ten digit account number. By the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s regulations, all bank accounts have become (NUBAN) compliant i.e. ten digit format since 2011. It is not possible to effect a bank transfer on an eight digit account as alleged by the whistleblower in the period stated.”
On the allegation that Edo State Government made payments into General Purpose Accounts in different banks, Eboigbe explained: “General Purpose Accounts (GPA) are Draw Down or Disbursement Accounts where payments for capital and recurrent expenditures are carried out to enhance accountability.
“The Treasury Single Account (TSA) is not a direct Expenditure Account. Funds received into this account from the Federal Government and Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) collection accounts are transferred to the General Purpose Account (GPA) for payment of capital expenditures, personnel cost, operating cost to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and other recurrent expenditures of Government.”
He continued: “On the allegation that transfers in Billions were made to MDAs and registered contractors without specific names and account numbers, we wish to state that this allegation is baseless because Banks cannot process payments without the account details of beneficiaries. It is obvious that the Whistleblower is ignorant of how Bank transfers are effected.”
The Finance Commissioner added: “Edo State’s monthly share of Value Added TAX (VAT) from Federation Account is usually credited to Value Added Tax (VAT) sub-account. This is also not an expenditure account. The debit seen in the bank statements are transfers to other State Government expenditure accounts like GPA, before processing payments for salaries, pension and payments to contractors etc.
“The sum of
N746,622,765.33 and N693,388,159.31 represent part of the amount Edo State Government spent on staff salaries for the Month of August, 2019.
“It was paid electronically to 11,492 staff and 12,597 Pensioners respectively, by the commercial bank which has the mandate of Edo State Government (EDSG) as the lead bank to cumulate and distribute staff salaries to various bank accounts of beneficiaries, using Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS).”
He stressed: “It is pertinent to state here that payment of salaries through this account on a monthly basis amounts to over
N2 billion. No individual has access to these funds earmarked for salaries. The transaction is usually between the commercial bank and NIBSS that has the responsibility of electronically crediting the accounts of 11,492 staff and 12,597 pensioners.”