25th September, 2018
The Ebonyi Government on Monday directed banks that have financial dealings with it to immediately submit its accounts statements from 2007 to September, 2018.
Mrs Queen Agwu, the state Accountant-General made the call in Abakaliki during a joint state Executive Council (EXCO) briefing.
The accountant general noted that it should cover functional, dormant and closed accounts of the government.
Agwu further remarked that the statements should cover accounts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) and Local Government Areas.
“The fact that we did not start from 1999 does not mean that we are indicting the past administration but we are searching for our trapped funds to be used for developmental purposes.
“We are starting from 2007 because it was the year the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed banks to stop charging Commission on Turnover (COT) on corporate organisations of which the government is among.
“Several banks complied with the directive but some did not and in our case, some banks claimed that they had agreement with my predecessor to continue making the charges.
“We are aware that the Federal Government’s law overrides all laws in the country and for such to emanate through the apex financial regulator, the CBN, it is unacceptable for the banks to continue charging us at two per cent rate which culminates into huge amounts,” she said.
The accountant general noted that the government, therefore, directs the banks to make the statements cover its correspondences, agreements and transactions for the given period.
“We are optimistic that the affected banks would comply with this directive and further make necessary repayments because the governor has said that Ebonyi should no longer be treated as it used to in the past.
“It is sad that that while some of the banks have started refunding others smartly transferred their managers whom we reconciled the accounts with, to other places.
“The new managers offer defensive tactics of consulting their headquarters before taking any action and this is not palatable to the government,” she said.
She expressed optimism that the banks would comply, noting that failure to do so means they were no longer interested in having transactions with the state government.
“I recently received statement of accounts from different banks though on a different matter as no bank would deny its customers, their rights of accessing their statement of accounts,” she said.
Mr Obinna Nwachukwu, the state Commissioner for Finance said that the governor would on Tuesday, convene a critical meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Labour congress (NLC) on ways of utilising the last tranche of the Paris Club refund, accessed by the state.
“The meeting will also include affiliate unions such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and management of tertiary institutions in the state.
“Contrary to insinuations that the meeting was convened due to the 2019 elections panic as it concerns workers, I state categorically that we do not owe workers.
“The meeting is not to negotiate salaries with workers but evolve ways of judiciously utilising the funds to uplift workers’ welfare and ascertain their areas of need.
“The governor would in the meeting, announce the amount received by the state in the latest tranche, the amount received so far in all the tranches and other relevant information the public would like to know,” he said.