OrderPaperToday – Senator Dino Melaye (PDP, Kogi) has accused the Kogi State Government of signing a loan of $500 million (N180 billion) without recourse to the State Assembly or National Assembly, describing the move as “illegal”.
Speaking on a point of order on Wednesday, Senator Melaye further accused the State Governor of acquiring the loan in a bid to fund elections in the state and at the Presidential level.
He explained that the loan which has been christened “loan refinancing of the Kogi state local debt” significantly exceeds the local debt of 40 billion that the state owes, alleging that the surplus would be deployed for next year’s poll.
According to Melaye, “Kogi State Government owes about N40 billion local debts for payment of salaries that was never paid. Furthermore, Kogi State Government has approached East-West Capital Corporation of United Arab Emirates owned by one Mr Mahmoud for a loan of $500m.
“This fresh loan has been christened loan refinancing of the Kogi state local debt in order to avoid coming to the National Assembly for approval. The Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance has guaranteed and signed along Kogi State Government without recourse to the National Assembly.
“Kogi State should be borrowing what it owes locally which is 40 billion naira and not 180 billion naira ($500m). Obviously, there is a plan to defraud the state and fund both elections in Kogi State and Presidential”
Speaking further he expressed worry that the loan is at a 10% interest rate with a payback period of 15 years while the Governor has just a year to complete his term. He additionally accused the Governor of mismanaging Federal Government bail outs and Paris Club refunds as salaries remain unpaid in the state.
Corroborating Melaye’s claim, Senator Attai Aidoko described the loan as unacceptable, unsustainable and mortgaging the state even as he criticised the Governor for failing to pay allowances of the Deputy Governor, State assembly, and Judicial officers.
The Senate mandated its Committee on Local and Foreign Debts to establish if such loan moves have been made by the Kogi State Government and report back to the Senate.