Senator David Umahi
Senator David Umahigoogle

I Didn’t Authorize N9.3bn Payment to Microfinance Bank – Umahi

The Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi, refutes allegations made by an online newspaper that he approved the disbursement of N9.3 billion allocated for road construction to FIMS Microfinance Bank.

The accusation, leveled by Tracka, a service delivery promotion platform under BudgIT, suggests a violation of the 2007 procurement law.

Umahi's denial comes through his Special Adviser on Media, Barrister Orji Uchenna Orji, who categorizes the report as a "malicious" creation of the author's imagination. Orji explained that Umahi was serving as the governor of Ebonyi State when the project received its initial approval.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Orji quotes the minister's response to the allegations during an inspection tour in the South East. The statement clarifies that the release of funds, amounting to N9.3 billion for 62 projects, occurred between June and December 2023.

Umahi, currently a senator, further elaborates that the initial payment in June took place while he was in the Senate. He emphasizes that the ministry adhered to legal protocols, asserting that the funds were disbursed for services rendered by contractors and not for the contract awarded to the bank itself.

Umahi was quoted as saying, “Let me also use the opportunity to debunk something ongoing in the social media. I don’t know what they call the group, is it Tracka or something?

“It is said it is monitoring the budget of the federal government. And I saw where they put my picture, a very beautiful picture, for that matter, and said that we paid 9.3bn to the microfinance bank.

“But they went ahead and tagged about the eight points something billion against some projects in Ekiti State, in Kaduna State, in Kastina State, in Boronu State, and say these payments were done between June. In June, I was in the Senate. So these projects, if they are correct, would have been awarded why I was still a governor, so not a minister.

“Number two, in June I was in the Senate. In July I was in the Senate. Up to the 20th August, I was in the Senate. But there are issues when a contractor has done his or her work, the money becomes his money.

“ He can say, pay it to this bank, pay it to this bank. And so they’re being very mischievous. If they’re asking whether the job was done, that is the only right they have."

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