The office of the minister of solid minerals development and immediate past governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has reacted to Governor Ayodele Fayose’s allegation that “the misappropriation of N852.9 million State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) counterpart fund by the immediate past All Progressives Congress (APC) government of Dr Kayode Fayemi made the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEC) to blacklist the State, making it impossible for the State to access 2013, 2014 and 2015 Matching Grant running to over N2.8 billion”.
Mr. Fayose in a statement on Monday said: “last Wednesday, UBEC Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr. Yakubu Gambo told the Senate Committee on Finance’s Budget Defence that Dr Fayemi, who is now the Minister of Solid Minerals used the N852.9 million counterpart funds dedicated for education by the federal government through the UBEC for other purposes”.
The statement quoted the SUBEB Chairman, Senator Bode Ola, as saying that “it was painful that Ekiti State and its people were suffering for the sin committed by the APC government of Fayemi”.
The government of Ekiti State added that “it is even more embarrassing and ridiculous that Fayemi’s commissioner for Finance, Dapo Kolawole, could defend this clear criminal act perpetrated against the people of Ekiti State by saying there was no law forbidding States from borrowing counterpart funds to support states capital development
Mr. Fayose quoted Senator Ola as explaining that “a sum of N852, 936,713.92 was paid into the SUBEB Access Bank account on January 14, 2014 as counterpart fund for 2012 UBEC projects and on this premise, UBEC released its Matching Grant of N852, 936,793.12 on January 3, 2013.
“On October 8, 2014, eight days to the end of Fayemi’s tenure, the same amount of N852, 936,713.92 was transferred from the account of SUBEB, leaving a sum of N9, 139,691.40 as credit balance in the account.
“This was done without the knowledge and approval of UBEC and because of this misappropriation, UBEC blacklisted Ekiti State and this has made it impossible for us to access Matching Grant for 2013, 2014 and 2015.
“UBEC, in a letter dated April 16, 2015, with Reference Number;
UBEC/FA/SUBEB/EK/183/Vol.II/162 described the withdrawal as criminal act that violated Section 11(2) of UBE Act 2004 and conveyed its suspension of Ekiti State from accessing any further FGN-UBE Intervention Fund.
“For this reason, all UBEC/SUBEB 2012 ongoing projects have been halted, payment for all 2012 projects cannot be made to contractors, fund for special education; teachers capacity building etc for 2013, 2014 and 2015 cannot be accessed, infrastructures in our schools are neglected, in fact, SUBEB in Ekiti State is totally grounded!”
Mr. Fayemi’s camp reacted angrily, saying that Mr. Fayose should only blame his primitive ways and reckless utterances.
Mr. Yinka Oyebode, Special Assistant on Media to Dr Kayode Fayemi, the Minister of Solid minerals Development, said “Governor Ayo Fayose’s reckless utterances and primitive approach to governance should be blamed for the UBEC’s sanction”.
Oyebode in a statement said “it is rather unfortunate that the Ayo Fayose administration would, in its characteristic infantile and crude manner, falsify discussions that took place on the floor of the National Assembly, all in the bid to justify its ineptitude”.
According to him, “Whereas the UBEC Deputy Executive Secretary, Dr Yakubu Ganbo , was at the senate, he did not accuse the immediate past administration led by Dr Kayode Fayemi of misappropriation of UBEC fund.
“Rather Dr Gambo gave details of development that led to UBEC’s decision to sanction the state”.
He explained that the immediate past government had taken a loan from a bank to be able to make available its counterpart funding to access the UBEC fund. But the bank withdrew its money when the government lost the 2014 governorship election for fear that the incoming government might not honour the terms of repayment.
“So, the sitting government that took the loan from the bank to provide the counterpart to access what is in the coffers of the federal government lost an election. And the bank decided that the state had not met up the requirement for pay back. And so as not to have problem with the incoming government, they decided to withdraw their money”, Dr Gambo said
“So Ekiti state went ahead to implement part of the action plan with the N826million assessed from UBEC. When we went out for monitoring and we discovered these anomalies we sanctioned Ekiti State by ensuring that until they formalize and bring back that matching grant they will no longer asses any form of funding from UBEC. And that is the position now”, added Dr Gambo in response to questions from the distinguished senators.
Mr. Oyebode said “the Fayose government is to blame for this. Its crude approach to governance careless utterances and verbal threats to financial institutions shortly after the June 21 , 2014 election made many banks to review their relationships with the state.
“It is recalled that Fayose had called bank chiefs to a meeting shortly after the election and warned them that he was not going to repay any loan entered with the then outgoing government. This development , coupled with his antecedence as a highly misguided and mischievous ruler had made many financial institutions including the one in question to review existing relationships.
“While government is a continuum, the Fayose administration had carried on in the last one and half years as if it is an island and lord unto itself with no regard for institutions.
“The issue of diversion does not occur, the bank simply withdrew its support because of the negative signal it got from the Fayose administration. So, Fayose should be blamed for everything.
“When a government is inaugurated it inherits the assets and liabilities of the former administration. And a responsible government would tackle the issue of development with all sense of responsibility and not play to the gallery like Fayose.
“If Fayose had not refused to pay contractors engaged by the former administration and also threatened not to honour any bank loan by the administration, the UBEC project would be on course and there would not have been any sanction stopping his administration from assessing UBEC fund.
So, Fayose should blame his infantile administrative style for the problem.
“It is rather unfortunate that the state is being denied the UBEC funding because of gross irresponsibility of the incumbent government.
“It is on record that when the Fayemi administration came in 2010, SUBEB counterpart funding of 2008 was outstanding and contracts were already awarded by the previous government led by Engr Segun Oni. We supported all the government left behind and funded the SUBEB projects through loan arrangements from the bank which was paid back on monthly basis. Theses procedures remained for the 2009, 2010 and 2012.
“The SUBEB fund was used judiciously by the Fayemi administration and this is evident in the construction of primary school buildings and renovation of junior secondary schools among others.
“The Fayose administration should stop its habit of falsehood and face governance with every sense of responsibility instead of looking for excuses for its ineffectiveness and imminent failure”
What UBEC Deputy Executive Secretary said is below.
When UBEC started operations in 2014 (2004) it had not started receiving funding. But When it started receiving its funding towards the tail end of 2014 (2007), all the monies meant for UBEC from 2004 up till 2014 (2007) were kept in the Central bank.
So, when it discovered that these monies could be invested in commercial banks, this decision came in 2008 and since then monies meant for the states and other components of the operations that are not put to immediate use were kept in commercial banks at an agreed interest rates.
So sir, when the TSA came, the principal and the interests were altogether transferred into a Treasury Single Account. There is no trace of any part of it.- because there was no different account for the principal and the interest- it was the same account in any of the banks that have the opportunity to keep these monies in custody for the federal government and the states.
Then, for states diverting UBEC funds, yes. ..Some state governors diverted substantial part of UBEC funds.
Part of our responsibilities as an agency of the federal government is to monitor and ensure that money disbursed to states are spent in keeping with an approved action plan which is submitted by the states, scrutinized by us and approved. And when states start implementing we go out to monitor. And in the process of monitoring where we discover that a state has diverted part of the fund, there are punitive measures we take.
For example in 2012, Ekiti State government assessed about N826million from UBEC and for a deposit of an equal amount of N826 million or thereabout. So, that coincided with the year when there was an election in the state.
So the sitting government that took loan from the bank to provide the counterpart to assess what is in the coffers of the federal government lost an election. And the bank decided that the state had not met up the requirement for pay back. And so as nt to have problem with the incoming government, they decided to withdraw their money.
So this is what …..say was diverted.
So Ekiti State government went ahead to implement part of the action plan with the N826million assessed from UBEC. When we went out for monitoring and we discovered these anomalies we sanctioned Ekiti State by ensuring that until they formalize and bring back that matching grant they will no longer assess any form of funding from UBEC. And that is the position as at now.
And So if there are other states in the same category, it is the same thing.
So there is no way we will use our monitoring mechanism to uncover an anomaly of diversion of fund and we keep our eyes closed. We have never and will never.