From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The media sub-committee for the national convention of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has denied knowledge of the alleged spending of N800 million on publicity during the event, describing the report as strange and untrue.
In a statement signed by the Subcommittee Secretary, Garba Shehu, the committee disclosed that it worked with a tight budget of N100 million from the N360 million it initially submitted.
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Titled “APC Media sub-committee didn’t know, see or hear about N800 million expenses”, the statement reads: ‘The report that the Media Subcommittee of the Convention Planning Committee of the APC, led the Abdullahi Sule, the Governor of Nassarawa State, co-chaired by Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, spent a whopping amount of N800 million is strange news, totally untrue.
‘If that huge amount of money was spent on media work at the convention, we make bold to say that we were and still are unaware of the what, who, when and how it was expended. The Subcommittee, which I served as Secretary got a total sum of N100 million only. We thank the Governor for giving us the venue, tea and coffee.
‘We submitted a budget of about N360 million. When the Finance Subcommittee told that even the N100 paid us was in excess of our budgetary allocation, we scrambled backwards, cancelling commitments duly entered into for billboards, production of documentaries, lamp pole ads and so many other things. Some we could cancel, others were irreversible,” the committee defended.’
Reacting further, the statement read: ‘On the assurances given by our leaders, we negotiated a token of commitment to TV networks for Live Coverage, with everyone agreeing that was a must-do for the convention. At the very end, we could only pay half of that amount to each of the stations, hoping that the leadership of the party will take responsibility for the payment of the balances due as a matter of honour.
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‘The expenses sheet accounting for the N100 million and the detailed report of the work by the Subcommittee has since been sent to the party and shared with the committee leaders and its membership.
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‘In the course of doing this work, all payments to third parties were done by a committee member in the presence of at least two other members. This was in a bid to rise above scandal.
‘In view of the astonishing revelation of the money allegedly spent by our committee in this report, we strongly suspect that our account, rendered to the party, detailing out every of our expenses may have been the trigger for the ongoing investigation and the reported suspensions.
‘Whatever be the case, we are absolutely in support of the ongoing probe into the convention finances. To convince anyone that the party is ready to continue with the cleansing of the nation being carried out by the President Buhari-led administration, it must first cleanse its own house.
‘On this, we stand with Governor Abdullahi Adamu, the new Chairman as he carries out this exercise. Nothing should be hidden under the carpet,’ the statement read.