———By Shedrack Onitsha————-
A chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Delta State, Dr. Wilson Omene has describe as criminal and impeachable offence for Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to continue to withhold 50% of the 13% derivation funds accruable to the Delta State Oil Producing Development Commission, (DESOPADEC).
According to the former chairman of the Ethiope West local government council, he stated that the argument of the state been heavily indebted and as such part of the fund is deducted at source to service the loans, doesn’t hold water because DESOPADEC fund is statutory.
Omene while decrying how successive government in the state have observed DESOPADEC extent laws more in breaches, he noted that “it’s not only evil to touch the commission fund, but illegal and criminal because the fund is sacrosanct and statutory.
“Therefore, the 50% of the 13% derivation should be paid at source, as it’s hitting the Delta State account, the 50% should be transferred immediately. It’s not business of the Governor to be appropriating the fund by asking how much that is needed to pay salaries.
“The only function of the governor in respect to DESOPADEC fund is to ensure that the management of the Commission implements its budget as passed by the State House of Assembly, don’t forget that the House also has oversight function on DESOPADEC.
So, assuming what the state got from 13% derivation is N10billion, and after servicing the state debt, what is left is just N5billion, which is the 50% of the 13% derivation, N5billion should be giving to DESOPADEC.
“Okowa since assuming office has be doing otherwise by deliberately and criminally breaching the DESOPADEC law, which of course is an impeachable offence, but sadly the governor has pocketed the legislators, if not they can impeach him based of the breach of the Commission’s law.”
Omene stated further that the excuse that the management of DESOPADEC is not prudent is not attainable, because if they don’t meet up with the expectation of the government, they should be fired, rather than using that as an excuse to withhold the commission’s funds.
He therefore, he urged Okowa to release henceforth whatever that is accruable to DESOPADEC within 24 hours of receipt from the federation account, adding that acting to the contrary is fraud and criminal.