Fraud: Missing N 1 billion Ibom Airline Tears AKHA, Budget Office And Min. Of Special Duties Apart By Sam Emmanuel
- As Enoidem Feigns Ignorance Of Whereabouts Of Missing Fund
- They Must Account For That Money – Onofiok Luke’s Committee
- The Money Had Been Released From The State Treasury – Budget Office.
The battle line has been drawn between the members of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly committee on Finance and appropriation headed by Barr. Onofiok Luke and the Ministry of Special duties overseen by Emmanuel Enoidem as well as the office of the Akwa Ibom state Accountant-General,
The issue under contention is the missing sum of 1billion naira provided for in the 2013 budget which was allotted for the purchase of a commercial airline to be christened “IBOM AIRLINE” and meant to be used for commercial purposes as a means of revenue generation for the government.
Trouble began immediately after the Commissioner for Special Duties, the ministry overseeing the Ibom International Airport, presented their budget performance before the Akwa Ibom State House Committee on Finance and Appropriation for the 2013 fiscal year. Apparently curious over the discrepancy noticed in the document forwarded to the Finance and Appropriation committee by the Budget Office, as obtained from the office of the state Accountant-General on its expenditure for the said airline and the omission of the information relating to the purchase of the airline during the presentation of the budget performance for the Ministry of Special Duties by Barr. Emmanuel Eniodem, the chairman of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Barr. Onofiok Luke demanded explanation as to why no mention was made of the purchase of Ibom Airline, even when records at the disposal of the committee show that such fund was released.
In response to the question, the commissioner for Special Duties, Barr. Enoidem insisted that he had no knowledge of the disbursement of the sum of 1 billion naira meant for the purchase of Ibom airlines to the ministry. He maintained that such money would have been lost in transit or still in the custody of the office of the Akwa Ibom state Accountant General.
Barr Enoidem remarked before the committee “When I took over as commissioner in the Ministry of Special Duties, while reviewing the documents of the ministry, I did not see any document to the effect that a whooping sum of 1billion naira was released to this ministry for the purpose of purchasing the purported Ibom Airline. So if such money is said to have been released by the office of the state Accountant-General, then it must have been lost in transit or perhaps still in the custody of the Accountant-General who claims he had released the said funds because to the best of my knowledge, the money is not in the Ministry of Special duties”
Irked by the inability of the parties involved to offer adequate explanation as to the whereabouts of the 1billion naira meant for the purchase of the aircraft, the chairman of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly committee on Finance and Appropriation, Barr Onofiok Luke said the committee was disappointed over the inability of the office of Accountant-General and the ministry of Special Duties to account for the as large a sum as 1billion naira which was clearly provided for and purportedly remitted to the ministry of special duties by the office of the Akwa Ibom state Accountant-General.
The lawmaker who maintained that the inability of the parties involved to offer cogent explanation on the missing 1billion Ibom airline shows that those at the helm of affairs in the different ministries were not capable of manning the ministries, stressing that no funds will be allotted to the ministries having anything to do with the missing 1billion naira.
In his words Barr. Onofiok Luke warned: “I sympathize with the parties involved in the disappearance of the 1billion naira meant for the purchase of Ibom Airline as this committee is going to ensure that those ministries do not, I repeat do not get a dime in the 2014 budget that will be passed by this honourable assembly. Let me warn that it is not going to be business as usual as we will follow every dime said to have been released by the accountant-general office to ensure that they were spent on the exact items they were provided for in the budget. Let this also serve as a warning to other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of Government that we will ensure that they account for every sum they receive in the 2014 budget to be passed by this assembly”
But the budget office has however insisted that the document it forwarded to the Akwa Ibom state House assembly committee on Finance and Appropriation was the same document it received from the office of the Akwa Ibom state Accountant-General and the document which the budget office insists has not been tampered with, shows the sum of 1 billion naira for the purchase of Ibom Airline had been released by the office to the Accountant-General.
Investigation by the Guide Newspaper has however revealed that the said amount had been released on the orders of the state chief executive, Governor Godswill Akpabio in the name of the Ministry of Special Duties.
An impeccable source in the account office of the Accountant-General office confided in the Guide Newspaper that the controversial 1 billion naira was released on the orders of Governor Godswill Akpabio last year by the accountant General to a private account that he was sure had no relationship with the Ministry of Special duties.
Our source explained the document relating to the disbursed funds was in the custody of the Office of the state Accountant-General, disclosing that that was the reason behind the cabinet reshuffle that led to the emergence of Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem as Commissioner in the ministry of Special Duties.
He wondered why the commissioner for Special duties should feign ignorance over the said sum of money, even when he must have been told that his job specification included working with the relevant authorities to ensuring that no discrepancy exist in the account of the ministry, especially as it had to do with the now controversial sum of 1billion naira.
In the exact words of our source: “ My own brother, it is unfortunate that the issue of the missing 1billion naira meant for the purchase of Ibom Airline has come to public attention. And as usual, a lot of people might lose their jobs as a result of this. When I came to office in the morning that the money was disbursed, I remember that I saw one of my colleagues preparing the document for the disbursement of the 1billion naira to the ministry of special Duties for the purchase of Ibom airline. I was shocked to find out the amount was forwarded into a private account instead of the Ministry of Special Duties as was reflected in the document prepared requesting the release of the said sum. But the I tell you that I am more surprised that the commissioner (referring to Barr. Enoidem) says he does not have knowledge of the whereabouts of the missing ibom airline fund. Even when he does not know isn’t it in his place to protect the interest of his boss? What does he think he was brought to that ministry in the first place? To loaf around and laugh at the top of his voice? I am disappointed in his utterance.”
Efforts to get the explanation of the state Accountant-General, Mr Hillary Isobara on the controversial sum were unfruitful as he refused to pick his calls and did not also respond to the eight SMS sent to his mobile phones.