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How we disbursed N1.1bn World Bank loans – Officials answer to Abia govt panel

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The Director of Computer Services in the Abia State Ministry of Budget and Planning, Ejem Kalu and the retired Director of debt Management in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Umah Ukaonu have appeared before the Abia State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the Recovery of Government Properties and Funds, to respond to a petition filed by A. N. Nwachukwu, over alleged connivance and withdrawal of millions of naira.

Another petition before the Panel challenged the wrongful removal of Mrs Joyce Chidozie Ubani as Head, NG Cares Units and the Non-implementation of NG Cares projects in Abia State.

Responding while being cross-examined by the Council to the Panel, Mr Ejem Kalu said Mrs Joyce Chidozie Ubani never held the position of State Cares Coordinating Units (SCCU), explaining that the World Bank gave the State directives to appoint State Cares Coordinating Units, which he emerged.

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Kalu said the first tranche of money, after successful documentation and implementation of 86% NG Cares Units projects in Abia State amounted to 1.1 billion naira, which according to him, was disbursed to six platforms.

The six platforms, according to Kalu, included Cash Transfer, which got 62 million naira, Labour Intensive Public Work, 61 million naira, CSDA 280 million naira, FADAMA, 517 million naira while SCCU got 142,980,244,60 naira.

He said the 1.1 billion naira from the World Bank was judiciously used for the purpose it was meant for.

In his response, Umah Ukaonu said the monies were released and withdrawn from the Ministry through the signature of the Permanent Secretary, himself as Director of Debt Management and Director of Finance in the Ministry for projects and programs.

Ukaonu said 10 million naira was realized in 2022 from companies partnering with the Abia State government, saying that monies which came from such partnerships, were directly paid into government coffers.

In another matter at the Judicial Panel, the immediate past General Manager of Methodological Complex Nig LTD, Mr Henry Nwaijike, claimed that equipment and other machines kept in the warehouses of the company were looted by unknown hoodlums who broke into the facilities.

He said he informed security agencies about the missing equipment and machines and denied looting the missing government property.

But the petitioner in the case, Onyebuchi Nwankpa, who is a spokesperson of the Abia State Ministry of Trade, Commerce and Industry, said the former General Manager of Methodological Complex should give an account of how the equipment and machines were looted at the peak of his handover.

Also speaking, the Counsel to the Abia State Judicial Panel, Mrs Enobong Okafor, said that a letter dated 3/5/2022 by Johnson Onuoha showed that evacuation of machines and machines took place before Henry Nwaijike handed over to the acting General Manager of Methodological Complex Nig LTD, Ada Chukwu.

How we disbursed N1.1bn World Bank loans – Officials answer to Abia govt panel

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