Senate investigates Kogi Govt’s alleged plan for $500m loan

Senate passes Electoral Act Amendment Bill
United Bank for Africa

The Senate has mandated its committee on Local and Foreign Debts to investigate alleged plan by the Kogi Government to obtain a 500-million-dollar foreign loan without National Assembly approval.

This followed a motion by Sen. Dino Melaye (PDP-Kogi) at plenary on Wednesday.

Melaye alleged that the state was seeking the loan from East West Capital Corporation, based in United Arab Emirates as the company, owned by one Mahmood.

Melaye, in the motion, alleged that approval for the 500 million dollar had already been given by the Ministry of Finance in contravention of the provisions of the law.

Melaye further said that besides not seeking national assembly approval, he had it on good authority that the State Government was going for the loan for the 2019 elections and not for projects.

“The Kogi government has approached East West Capital Corporation, based in the UAE, to get a loan of 500 million dollars. That is about N186 billion.

“Already, the state government has borrowed about N40 billion since it came on board in 2016.

“The law clearly states that any foreign loan must be approved by the National Assembly. That was not done. I am aware that the Minister of Finance has already given the approval.

“The Senate cannot sit back and allow this illegality to stand. The Senate needs to stop this,” he said.

He asked the upper chamber to take steps to prevent the state from taking the loan in the interest of the people.

He urged the Senate to set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the planned loan to save the people of Kogi State.
Supporting the motion, Sen. Atai Idoko (PDP-Kogi) decried alleged mismanagement of resources in the state.

He further alleged that the Deputy Governor of the state, Mr. Simon Achuba, had not been paid salary in the last one year by the state government.

He also said that electricity supply to the official residence of the deputy governor had been disconnected by the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), due to unpaid charges.

The lawmaker further disclosed that the State House of Assembly had adjourned indefinitely for failure of the state government to pay salaries and allowances of state lawmakers.

He noted that civil servants as well as judicial officers in the state had not been paid in the last one year.

The lawmaker added that judicial officers were already planning to embark on a state-wide industrial action.

Aidoko said approving such a loan would create more problem for the state and should not be allowed.

“I want to bring to the notice of the Senate of some things going wrong in Kogi State.

“As I speak, the Deputy Governor is broke.

“Again, the official residence of the Deputy Governor has been thrown into darkness as the State Government has refused to pay the electricity bill of the residence.

“On Tuesday, the State House of Assembly adjourned sine die. Members said they have not been paid their salaries and allowances in the last few months by the State Government.

“As I speak, only one arm of government is operating in Kogi State. This is the situation on ground.

“If the State Government has not been able to justify all the monies it has received in form of allocations, Paris Club refund, bailouts and loans, why will it go for another foreign loan of 500 million dollar. Let us save our state,” he said.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki asked the committee on Local and Foreign Debts to properly investigate the allegation and report back to senate in 48 hours.