• Monday, May 27, 2024
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BusinessDay

Rivers Bombardier Jet costs $45m, says finance commissioner

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The Rivers State government has finally come clean with the cost of the controversial aircraft now grounded by federal aviation authorities.

The commissioner of finance, Chamberlain Peterside, said in a statement made available to BusinessDay that the Bombardier Jet BD-700 Global Express was procured at $45 million, excluding what he called fees and other charges.

The commissioner may have come clean following speculations that $10 million is missing from the coffers of the state government under his watch.

Peterside, who said no such money was missing from the coffers of the government directly or through inflation, noted that the Ministry of Finance, based on available facts and verifiable records on the cost of the aircraft acquired by the state government in 2012, paid only what was approved by both the governor and the House of Assembly.

“Our payment and accounting record clearly buttresses and substantiates these assertions. To suggest that such a transaction was inflated in order to misappropriate state funds is simply a figment of some imaginations concocted to tarnish the stellar performance and diminish the achievements of this administration”.

Peterside said, “Our system of accounts and financial transactions in the state is based on very rigorous approval and disbursement process. Hence it is unthinkable and practically impossible that the state government through the Ministry of Finance will perpetrate blatant looting of public funds that has characterised some previous administrations in the country”.

Consequently, he said, “We want to again reiterate that the reports on missing funds are mere false allegations spurred by the current media frenzy and nothing can be farther from the truth. The ministry and the administration stand ready to vigorously defend and debunk this malicious and unfounded news stories to the end”.

The battle to unseat the sitting governor, according to analysts, is now targeted at raising financial evidence to begin impeachment proceedings and the Ministry of Finance has been under searchlight.