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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Anambra: ‘N1.61 Trillion Was Generated And N1 Trillion Lost To Criminal Revenue Collectors Under Obiano’

…Tens (if not hundreds) of billions of naira contract debts and retirees' unpaid emoluments undisclosed …N101billion lost to police, military and paramilitary roadblock extortion and criminal bail fees

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The International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (InterSociety) as an Eastern Nigerian based and leading democracy, good governance and human rights advocacy organization since 2008 has monitored (policed) democracy and good governance in Anambra State and contributed hugely for their growth and advancement. As a matter of fact, the founders of Intersociety also co-pioneered the struggle for democratization and provision of good governance in the State between 1999 and 2007 through the Civil Liberties Organization.

Measuring Obiano’s Eight Years Governorship

Twelve Qualities of a successful democratically elected leader in public governance are: (a) winning election by popular votes or input legitimacy, (b) readiness and ability to selflessly serve the people, (c) factoring governance policy direction into Human Security Development index including its seven dimensions of: personal security, economic security, health security, environmental security, food security, political security and community security, (d) avoidance of wasteful spending or squander-mania, (e) formation of a sizeable cabinet composed of upright persons and people with technical expertise in various sectors of public governance, (f) maintaining a cabinet devoid of favoritism and nepotism, (g) fiscal responsibility and trimming down governance costs, (h) moderate monthly wage bills including ‘security votes’ and downsizing the number of political appointees, (i)zero borrowing policy and ability to adequately mobilize non-loan funds or ‘capital receipts’ within and outside the country for capital development of the State and its socio-economic transformation, (j) aggressive sectoral and infrastructural development and adequate provision and delivery of social services, (k) provision of enabling environment and incentives for the FDI inflows and private sector participation in the industrial development and massive job employment, (l) ensuring security and welfare of the citizenry including safeguarding and protecting their human and property rights and (m) rendering credible and legitimate account of stewardship at the end of an elected tenure. At the end of this special report, the People of Anambra State and beyond will be able to place the out-gone Gov and his former Government where they rightly belong.

N1.61Trillion Generated And Lavishly Spent Under Obiano In Eight Years: The major working documents in this special report are the budgets of the Government of Anambra State under Obiano since Sept 2014 when a Supplementary Budget of N13.8B was approved and spent. It is an elementary knowledge that through budgeting, most of the Government’s expected revenues and expenditures for each fiscal year are captured. The funding of budget under Obiano majorly came from federal allocations, internally generated revenues, borrowings and ‘Capital Receipts’ (foreign and local grants, other FAAC transfers, counter-part funds, aids and concessionary funds, etc). Budget spending is traditionally divided into ‘capital expenditures and recurrent expenditures and the latter are further divided into ‘personnel and over-heads expenditures’. Through the use of supplementary budgets, increases or decreases in capital and recurrent expenditures are captured. For instance, the Anambra State’s budget of N137.1B for the year 2020 was later reduced or cut down to N114.9B through a Supplementary Budget. In Sept 2014 under Obiano, the State budget was further increased with a supplementary budget of N13.8B.

Therefore, under Obiano in Sept 2014, a supplementary budget of N13.8B was passed and spent and in the past eight years of his out-gone Government or between March 2014 and March 2022, a total of N1.118trillion was budgeted and lavishly spent including: supplementary budget of N13.8B in Sept 2014 and main budgets of N164.4B in 2015, N101.4B in 2016, N115.5B in 2017, N166.9B in 2018, N157.1B in 2019, N114.9 in 2020 (cut down from N137.1B), N143.7B in 2021 and N141.9B in 2022. Anambra State under Obiano also inherited total cash savings of N75B from former Gov Peter Obi who inherited total cash deposits of N13.5B in March 2006 from former court ousted Gov Chris Ngige. The inherited N75B cash deposits had included: N48.6B local cash deposits in 12 local banks and N26.5B or $156M dollar deposits in three banks (Fidelity, Diamond and Access).

The cash of N48.6B was evidentially deposited in 12 banks as follows: (1) Access Bank N1.82B, (2) Diamond Bank N15.8B, (3) Enterprises Bank N2.68B, (4) First Bank N2.15B, (5) Fidelity Bank N21B, (6) First City Monument Bank N892M, (7) Keystone Bank N1.14B, (8) Skye Bank N172M, (9) Sterling Bank N606M, (10) United Bank for Africa N1.31B, (11) Unity Bank N309M and (12) Zenith Bank N642M. Out of N2.15B deposited in the First Bank, N1.8B was deducted months after the Obi’s exit following a Garnishee order secured from a High Court of Justice by the aggrieved workers of the State Water Corporation as a result of their disagreements with the Obi Government over the workers’ unpaid remunerations. Anambra State under Obiano also incurred total debts of N120B-N140B-comprising foreign debts of $111m or N47B (at official exchange rate of N416 per $US) and domestic debts of N65B-N85B including loans borrowed for “budget support, infrastructural development and bailouts” owed to Federal Government of Nigeria.

It is also on record that the total debts accrued to the State under former Gov Peter Obi, according to the Debt Management Office Report of 30th June 2014 was N12.2B comprising local debts of N9B and foreign debts of $45m or N3.2B at the then official exchange rate of N195 per $US. The 21 Local Government Areas in the State had also between March 2014 and March 2022 received not less than N300B from the Federation Account. As at January 2019, monthly average of N3.5B was allocated to the 21 Local Government Areas in the State while the State received N4.4B. Apart from running the State Local Government System with appointed transition committees since Ngige and Peter Obi’s eras, the out-gone Government of Obiano had also relied on Section 162 of the Constitution (State-Local Government Joint Account) to corner and spend substantial part of the LGA Federal Allocations which never reflected in the State’s budgets since Sept 2014. In all, the out-gone Government of William Obiano had between 31st March 2014 and 16th March 2022 received and lavishly spent over N1.61trillion or over $4billion (at N416 per $US) and they included cumulative budgets of N1.118trillion, inherited cash deposits of N75B, borrowed loans of N120B-N140B and Local Government funds of N300B.

What Ngige And Obi Left

While former court ousted Gov Chris Ngige left the State in March 2006 with cash deposits of N13.5B, borrowed loans of over N40B and contractual obligations of over N35B as well as unpaid retirees and active workforce social benefits amounting to N35B majorly inherited from 1992 and afterwards; the former Peter Obi Government left total cash deposits of N75B, borrowed debts of N12.2B and investments worth over N27B in eighteen quoted companies. The Obi Government also cleared over 95% of the inherited retirees and active workforce benefits amounting to over N35B. In the area of contractual obligations, all completed projects including road construction and rehabilitation were fully paid for and ongoing others with their saved and paid mobilization funds left for the then-incoming Obiano Government. Workers remunerations were not only fully paid but also savings were made to take care of others in coming months.

N1Trillion Lost To Revenue Criminals Under Obiano In Eight Years

Not less than N1trillion was lost to criminal State agents and their revenue collectors. In other words, Anambra State under Obiano lost a total of not less than N1trillion to revenue criminals and touts clandestinely raised by criminal Government appointees and lawmakers. Under Obiano, only N240B was statutorily collected in eight years as IGRs (internally generated revenues)-as against N1.24trillion that ought to have been collected and channeled into State coffers. The N240B amounted to yearly average of N30B while the N1.24trillion that ought to have been generated for the State amounted to yearly average of N150B. In other words, out of average of N150B IGR that supposed to have been collected and paid into State coffers on yearly basis since March 2014, only N30B was paid yearly and N120B per year lost to revenue criminals who diverted and pocketed them. Anambra State is presently conservatively measured to have enough potential or capacity to generate one third of Lagos State IGR-which generates N40B-N45B monthly or N450B-N500B yearly. Revenue criminality and criminalization in Anambra State under Obiano was rampaging, riotous and bloody and in the end, 80% of same disappeared into private pockets leading to springing up in choice locations of privately acquired state-of-art building complexes including shopping malls, industries, hostels, hotels, palatial mansions, petrol and gas stations and so on. The State under Obiano recorded ‘over-taxation’, ‘extra-taxation’ and ‘taxation duplicity’ with nothing governmentally and developmentally to show for it.

Billions Of Naira Contract Debts & Unpaid Workforce Emoluments Undisclosed: Government debts are divided into ‘statutory and non-statutory debts’. While statutory debts include borrowed local and foreign loans, non-statutory debts are debts owed to contractors especially for completed and certified projects as well as others involving “percentage completion” such as percentage of awarded contracts completed before abandonment. Other non-statutory Government debts are ‘judgment debts’ or court ordered payment of debts arising from executed and completed projects. The rest are debts accruing from active and retired workers’ unpaid social benefits such as allowances, gratuities and other emoluments. Therefore, in the case of the out-gone Obiano Government, there are publicly undisclosed debts (non-statutory debts) associated with the above mentioned, most likely running into tens, if not hundreds of billions of naira. For instance, it is an undeniable fact that billions of naira (in tens or hundreds) are owed to contractors that handled several road projects and those under “percentage completion” before their abandonment. The above position of Intersociety excludes the contractors handling the on-going road (if any) and other critical infrastructural projects. It is also a fact that billions of naira are owed to active and retired workers at the State and Local Government levels in the State. This is with particular reference to arrears associated with their numerous leave and promotion allowances and the retirees’ gratuities mounting in the State under Obiano since 2017. Most, if not all the recently appointed Permanent Secretaries have also reportedly not been motorized.

Independent Audit Of The Out-Gone Obiano Government Required: It is therefore our informed advice to new Gov Soludo to independently audit the out-gone Government of William Obiano so as to be on the safe side and let Anambra People know what he truly inherited and level of rot therein. The findings of the independent audit must include: how much cash deposits was left, how much is being owed to contractors for completed projects and those under percentage completion before abandonment and how much is the contract value for ongoing projects in critical infrastructures (if any). Others are: how much is the judgment debts incurred under Obiano, how much foreign debts is the State presently owing, how much local debts is owed, how much is other debts such as budget and infrastructural support and bailout loans owed to Federal Government, how much retirees’ benefits is owed at the State and Local Government levels, how much emoluments is owed to active workforce at the State and Local Government levels. The independent audit under demand shall also contain general state of infrastructural and social development under the out-gone Obiano Government.

Safety Of Anambra’s Solid And Liquid Investments

The People of Anambra State have remained in the dark under the out-gone Obiano Government concerning the safety of the State investments valued at over N27B principally secured under the Obi Government. Till date, the fate of the multibillion naira investments is undisclosed and unknown. The State’s multibillion naira investments in 18 quoted companies and institutions within and outside the State as at 2015 are: (a) Nigerian Independent Power Project (NIPP)-N9B, (b) Orient Petroleum PLC-N4B, (c) Onitsha Hotel-N1B, (d) Agulu Lake Hotel-N1B, (e) Awka Shopping Mall-N900M, (f) Nnewi Shopping Mall-N600M, (g) Onitsha Shopping Mall (Shoprite)-N1B, (h) INTAFAT Beverages or Hero Breweries, Onitsha (now International Breweries in Ogun State), (N3.5B +$10M), (i) Onitsha Business Park 1 & 2-N600M, (j) Anambra State Independent Power Generating Company Ltd-N250M, (k) E-Force Ltd-N126M, (l) Emenite Ltd-N750M, (m) Quoted Investment Portfolio-350M, (n) NSIA-Anambra State Contribution (State +LGA)-N1.5B, (o) Anambra State Investment with Bank of Industry to support SMEs in the State-N500M, (p) Investment with Bank of Industry to support Micro Credit Bank in Anambra State-N500M, (q) Investment with Bank of Agric to support Anambra Farmers- N480M and (r) Commercial Agric Scheme-N1B; all totalingN27B.

Under Obiano, Attracted Critical Foreign Investments Flipped Off

Under Obiano’s watch in August 2018, the State lost one of its hard fought and attracted multibillion dollar foreign investments-INTAFAT Beverages-brewers of ‘Hero Beer’ and its associates. The giant brewery, now called ‘International Breweries’, had flipped off in August 2018 and moved in Ogun State where its owners built a world class plant worth over $300M or N90B which instantly attracted thousands of graduate and tens of thousands of unskilled employees. Today, its Onitsha Plant has become ‘a sales depot’. Three times the out-gone Governor was approached for a commensurable parcel of land and State support and three times he responded to them in strange and unfriendly language forcing them to look elsewhere. Also almost at the same period, the Golden Oil Industry, a thriving Indian Company in Ogbaru, flipped off the State and settled industrially in Enugu State.

N101B Lost Under Obiano To Police, Military And Paramilitary Roadblocks And Bail Fees

By Intersociety’s documented evidence, between August 2015 and Oct 2019 (50 months), N33B was lost to police roadblock extortion involving 250 roadblocks (August 2015 to August 2016, 500 roadblocks from August 2016 to August 2017 and 800 roadblocks from August 2017 to Oct 2019), totaling N33B at average of N40, 000 per day/per police roadblock. Estimated total of N10B was also lost to police custodial bail fees through their personnel and heads. From Nov 2019 to March 2020, N4.8B involving police roadblock extortion and N2B custodial bail fees were lost involving 800 police roadblocks at N40, 000 per day/per police roadblock. From March to June 2020 during COVID-19 lockdowns, N1.1B was lost to police roadblock and from July 2020 to Dec 2020, money lost to police roadblock crashed down to N2.88B from supposedly N5.76B. This was due to attacks on police personnel mounting roadblocks which forced many of them off the road. Money lost to police custodial bail fees during the period was about N1B. From Jan 2021 to 17th March 2022, a period of almost 15 months, the number of police roadblocks in Anambra State drastically went down to 100 or less from supposedly 800-resulting in only N1.74B being lost to police roadblock and about N1B lost to their custodial bail fees. The Anambra State Command of the Nigeria Police Force also partook in the N1.4B lost to security forces in the State during COVID-19 security lockdowns. The above brings the total money lost to police bribery and corruption under Obiano in Anambra State to N59.B.

In the area of the Nigerian Military, there are a national average of 50 military roadblocks in Anambra State mounted by Naval and Army personnel, out of which each was found to have pocketed average of N100, 000 per day between August 2015 and Dec 2020. The Uga Junction Naval checkpoint is the ‘most lucrative’ in the State-collecting and pocketing not less than N300, 000 per day from tipper Lorries, sand excavators, motor park touts, revenue collectors, ware conveying vehicles, commercial passenger tricycles, SHUTTLE buses, L300 Buses, roadside hawkers and so on. Therefore, N7.5B was lost to 50 military roadblocks in the State from August 2015 to Oct 2019 and from Nov 2019 to March 2020, N750M was lost to them. During COVID-19 security lockdowns between March and June 2020, the military partook in robbing the State citizens of N1.4B and from June to Dec 2020, N960M was lost to the military. From Jan 2021 to 17th March 2022, the money extorted daily by each of the 50 military roadblocks in Anambra State increased to N150, 000 per day, translating to N3.3B in approximately 15 months. Gov Obiano’s era was also a harvest of extortion and sundry corruption by various paramilitary agencies including personnel of the Nigerian Customs, Federal Road Safety Corps, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps and the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency-leading to loss of not less than N30B since April 2014. That is to say that under past eight years of Obiano Government or March 2014 to March 2022, Anambra State lost N59B to police bribery and corruption; N12.5B to the military and N30B to paramilitary agencies- totaling N101B since April 2014 and August 2015 respectively.

Compiled For Int’l Society For Civil Liberties And Rule Of Law By:

Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc., M.Sc.
Board Chair

Chinwe Umeche Esquire, LLB, BL
Head, Democracy and Governance

Obianuju Igboeli Esquire, LLB, BL
Head, Civil Liberties and Rule of Law

Chidimma Udegbunam Esquire, LLB, BL
Head, Campaign and Publicity

Phone/WhatsApp: +23474090052
Email: [email protected]
Website: https://intersociety-ng.org

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