A letter written on behalf of the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) requesting a loan of N13,120,470 has been leaked online.
The letter, which was obtained by online news platform, SaharaReporters, and was signed bythe Director of Public Relations and Protocol, NPD Dama, shows that the Minister had asked the NBC to loan the ministry the sum of 13 million to finance his trip to China.
The letter reads that:“I am directed to inform you [NBC] that the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed is proceeding on official assignment to China on Sunday, 15th May 2016.
“The Honourable Minister has therefore approved that you loan the Ministry the total sum of (N13,120,470) thirteen million, one hundred and twenty thousand four hundred and seventy Naira only to enable him and his team embark on the China trip to carry out the assignment.”
According to SaharaReporters, who had called the Minister to confirm the letter, Mohammed, in confirming the authenticity of the letter, had stated that: “it’s not unusual when the ministry wants to do something but you don’t have enough funds you ask one of your parastatals under you to provide the funds for the trip.”
“While we are waiting for the appropriate head to have the money you can go to any of your parastatals and ask, give us the money and when we are funded we will return the money to you.”
On how the letter was leaked, Lai Mohammed said: “I am so disappointed that an internal memo like that would be with SaharaReporters, it shows a lack of integrity in the ministry.”
The minister further stated that:“the way the ministry is run is not the subject of public discussion.”
Asked if he owes the public an explanation on how money is spent, the minister forthrightly replied: “I do not.”