Umahi Describes Allegations of Payment To Microfinance as Distraction

- Joyce Onuora, 

The Honourable Minister of Works Engr. David Umahi, has debunked claims that funds meant for construction of roads was fraudulently paid into a Microfinance Bank, contrary to extant regulations.

In a press release signed by his Special Adviser (Media) Hon. Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji and made available to Newsmen on Saturday January 27th, 2024, described the erroneous claims as incredibly fallacious, mischievous and fraudulent, aimed at misleading members of the public

Speaking to journalists in Rivers State during inspection of the Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriage way being reconstructed by a Construction firm, the Works Minister said “let me use the opportunity to debunk something that has been hovering around the social media for sometime now. I don't know what they call the group, is it Tracta Budgit or something, which claims they're monitoring the budget of federal government; they said that we paid 8.7 billion to a microfinance bank".

 Sen. Umahi disclosed that the organisation “went ahead to say, the 8.7 billion were paid against a number of projects in Ekiti, Kaduna, Kastina and Borno States between June and September, 2023.

Engr Umahi said the erroneous claims by the Tracka Budgit stated that, as at June 2023, “he was in the Senate; so, if they are correct, it means the contracts would have been awarded while I was still a Governor, so not a minister.”

Concerning the payments to a Microfinance bank, the Minister explained that, as at July, “I was in the Senate Up to 20th of August”. 

He, however explained payments to a Microfinance Bank, saying that “when a contractor is done with his or her project, the money becomes his money, he can say pay it to any bank of his choice."

Sen. David Umahi described as very mischievous the claim by the organisation, stating that they should have investigated “whether the job was done, that is the only right they have; have not the right to direct where a contractor's money should be paid to.

He reiterated that “whether the contractor's money is paid into microfinance or macrofinance bank, what is important is to establish, if the funds were rightly paid for the good job done.”

The Honourable Minister averred that, it was an attempt to distract his commitment to delivering on the Renewd Hope Agenda of President Bola Tinubu, for the road sector development in Nigeria.

“And so, it's just a distraction, and then, some of the bank contractors are using the brouhaha to fight back, but I have refused to be distracted, he restated.

On his efforts to ensure quality delivery of road projects through partnering with States, Sen. Umahi said “let me also say that in all the States, it is our policy that the state governors, through their appointed officials, must mark off any project, especially the emergency, palliative projects. 

According to him “when a contractor has completed a job, no matter how big it is, my advice is for the state governor to come to the site and look at it and then mark off the job before he gets to office for payment. 

He strongly affirmed that “Where this procedure is not done, I will not sign any generated certificate”.

Meanwhile, Sen Umahi has inspected the 56.10 kilometers Enugu-Port Harcourt Dual Carriageway under reconstruction in Abia State axis and the15 kilomometers Eleme to Onne Junction in East West Road Section 3, comprising of 3 lanes each in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. END

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