How N16 billion Mass Transit SURE-P Funds Went Down the Drain  Premium Times

As more dirt is being uncovered about the immediate past administration of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, it’s been revealed that over N16 billion from the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) funds released in 2012 for the Public Mass Transit Revolving Fund (PMTF) was squandered, Premium Times reports.

The fund, administered by The Infrastructure Bank (TIB), saw a total of 1,179 vehicles released to 31 beneficiaries, with a repayment plan covering four years. However, only two of the beneficiaries- ABC Transport PLC and Young Shall Grow Transport Limited, have fully repaid their loans, with the bank recording debts to the tune of N4,586,088,671.63 as at December 2015.

Those listed as “chronic defaulters” by the bank include National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), which got N2.3 billion; Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), N403,487,239; Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN), N370,738,460; Greenline Bus, N370,500,000; Global Ginikana, N295,290,190 and Classic Link Express, N123,500,000.

However there are claims the Jonathan administration gave out the loans largely as political patronage, with many of the recipient believing that they were actually helping the government after the storm generated by the fuel subsidy protests (#OccupyNigeria) of January 2012.

Former boss of SURE-P, Gen Martin Luther Agwai

Former boss of SURE-P, Gen Martin Luther Agwai

The scheme was reportedly compromised by stakeholders, including the beneficiaries, TIB and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). Najim Yasin, National President of NURTW – a major defaulter – said the organization rejected the vehicles provided by TIB but was persuaded to take them as a show of support to the Jonathan administration which was then facing a debilitating country-wide workers strike over the cut in fuel subsidy.

It was gathered that the matter is now being investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), with many of the key players interrogated, though no one has been charged to court.

But some of the beneficiaries, including the NURTW and RTEAN, have taken TIB to court over the loan repayment, claiming that the loan was impossible to repay due to the poor standard of vehicles supplied by TIB.