Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State Photo: FIMC

Alleged Corruption: Governor, ex-Minister at loggerheads over $350m loan for Plateau

*Other than completing ongoing projects his predecessor had initiated, Governor Lalong has nothing to his name as an achievement ─Ex-Minister Solomon Dalung

*70 percent of loan is committed to infrastructure, 20 percent for capacity building, 10 percent for project management, says Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

With a flurry of allegations and counter-allegations over the state resources, Governor Simon B. Lalong of Plateau State, and Mr. Solomon Dalung, a former Minister for Youth and Sports, in Nigeria, are said to have been at each other’s throats over alleged misappropriation of the $350million loan by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

It was gathered that the erstwhile Minister had accused Lalong of squandering the fund on developing Plateau State’s potato value chain without anything on ground to show for it.

However, the governor has described the criticism of his administration as ill-advised and misconstrued.

Report stated that Dalung during a Webinar had revealed that as a serving minister in the first tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, he was a member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) that approved the credit facility for the state.

He, however, disclosed that lamented that no single value chain infrastructure development of potato could be sighted or verified in Plateau State.

The Plateau State Governor, other than completing the ongoing projects that his predecessor had initiated, had nothing to his name as an achievement, said Dalung.

He, therefore, wondered if Lalong’s administration was only meant to complete projects.

The former Minister likewise accused the governor of misleading the President Buhari to commission a flyover built by Governor Jonah Jang, his predecessor, as his own project.

He described the development as disgusting, according to report.

Responding to Dalung’s allegations, Lalong described the claims of the former Minister for Youth and Sports as unfortunate.

He noted that Dalung, as a Minister for Youth and Sports between 2015 and 2019, achieved nothing.

Again, Lalong in a statement by Mr. Dan Manjang, Honourable Commissioner for Information, dismissed the claim that the state took a loan of $350 million.

The governor stated: “Even though it is a fact that Plateau State benefited from loan facility from the African Development Bank, it is rather sad that someone, who claims to have been part of the approval of the facility does not know the amount of the loan.

“This has aptly put a lie to his desperate attempt to take glory for the transaction that he knows little to nothing about.

“It is on record that Dalung as then Minister “supposedly” representing Plateau State in the FEC tried unsuccessfully to oppose the loan memo presented by the then Minister of Finance during the FEC Meeting.

Lalong said “having failed in his bid, he has not rested in his fruitless effort to discredit the program ever since by fabricating lies.

“Does he want to drag the name of the Federal Executive Council, the highest executive decision making body in the land to disrepute?

“Contrary to the bogus and imaginary figures quoted by the former minister, the Loan amount signed between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Federal Ministry of Finance for the benefit of Plateau State is $11.2million and not $350million as claimed by Dalung.

“Of this loan, 70 percent is being committed to infrastructure, 20 percent for Capacity Building and 10 percent for project management.”

According to the governor, Lalong said that the disbursement of the loan to contractors and consultants “is being paid directly by the AfDB under strict guidelines that are set by the bank, and done gradually under the terms of the agreement and not lump sum as he would want the people to believe.

“If he wanted to be truthful, he knows that no single kobo is managed by the State Government.

This is done through the Potato Value Chain Management Project Office which is not a parastatal or agency of the State Government, but operated under the supervision of the AfDB just like Fadama project among others.”

Lalong queried if the said projects were not meant to benefit the people.

Kindly Share This Story