By Joy Emmanuel
Special Adviser on Public Affairs to the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, has blasted a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Chief Perekeme Kpodo, for misinforming the public on the Paris Club refund to the state.
He described as absolute misinformation and falsehood the APC chieftain’s claim that the federal government has so far refunded more than N30billion of the Paris Club money to the state.
“Contrary to Chief Kpodo’s claim, Bayelsa State has received N24.5billion which was refunded in two tranches, and not more than N30billion as claimed by the APC chief,” Alabrah said.
He explained that it was important to put the records straight giving the antecedents of the former Special Adviser on Security in the immediate past administration in the state.
Alabrah faulted Kpodo’s claims on lack of transparency in the use of the Paris Club refunds stating that Henry Seriake Dickson administration is a shining portrayal of transparency in the utilisation of public funds as it had always declared every amount that accrued to the state since 2012 when it assumed office.
“Mischief makers and rumour peddlers need to be aware that the Paris Club money is not a gift from the federal government to states in the country. The money rightly belongs to the states as part of the illegal deductions from their federal allocations during the Obasanjo administration.
“Besides, the discretion on disbursement of the refunded money equally lies with the states. It is therefore erroneous to claim that the money is meant for payment of salary arrears to civil servants in states that are indebted to their workers.
“The bailout fund was supposed to meet that obligation but the Bayelsa State government did not receive bailout from the federal government. Only local governments in the state got N1.2billion as bailout to offset part of their salary arrears,” Alabrah said.