By Comr. Harris Chuma (Ogene Igbo)
A trustee has significant authority over the management of a trust’s Fund. Accordingly, the trustee has numerous legal duties and obligations. The law places a fiduciary duty on the trustee, meaning the trustee must place the interests of trust beneficiaries first when making decisions regarding the management of a trust. A trustee cannot, fail to account for actions taken on behalf of the trust, and otherwise inhibit distributions, or negligently manage trust assets.
At the wake of Coronavirus in Nigeria, precisely in February 2020, Anambra state government went on the aggressive campaign calling for community support fund to enable the state curb the wild spread of the novel pandemic, great efforts were made by Gov Willie Obiano’s administration towards galvanising and mobilising wealthy individuals, corperate bodies, financial institutions, politicians, even the church to support government financially, and or materially in the fight against coronavirus incursion into the state.
Soon, Chief Willie Obiano’s government established Covid 19 Task Force/Team ably headed by the handsome and erudite SSG Professor Solo Chukwulobelu, Secretary to State Government. Quickly, a trust fund was created to warehouse the torrencial financial contributions gushing in from faithful donors,popular philanthropists, corporate bodies, non governmental organisations, political big wigs, captain of industries, notable business men and women, good spirited Anambrarians both home and diaspora, people of good will, who donated hugely to the cause. Three months down the line, It’s astounding that despite the government’s assurances to the purpose of financing Covid 19 war in the state, the fund which was not dangerously underfunded, has been voted financially incapable of fulfilling the fund’s purpose. The citizens are in the dark on how the funds were used, being used or managed, and what kept the trustees confident and comforta le witholding relevant information on the Covid 19 support funds. The unusual calm chilling the Governor’s Covid 19 Team had only recently prompted the supposedly beneficiaries of the trust to begin to ask questions, demanding to know if the funds have been used, or abused?
During times of uncertainty and crisis, people come together to support one another. COVID-19 is a test of our collective strength. As millions are on lockdown and businesses are closing, unemployment is spiking. Families are bereft of source of income,feeding the kids, making the rent and keeping the lights on is tougher for many of us ndi Anambra than ever before. Chief Willie Obiano’s government, like his predecessors, has always taken pride in a feeling of community, a culture of trust, and a way of doing things that was a little bit different from every other states. But it wasn’t until recently that we began to realize just how differently things had been done. Why would ndi Anambra beg to know about the donations made to the covid 19 purse, how was it, or being used?
As at the last count, three prominent Social rights groups are aiming at suing the Anambra Covid 19 Taskforce Team for what they termed mismanagement of information on the Special Covid 19 Trust Fund (SCTF), and its related failure to comply with federal reporting requirements. It is note worthy to mention that at the federal level, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) have routinely spelt out to Nigerians all their finacial dealings, commitments, resolutions, actions and projections. Even, Covid 19 finacially reports are made public, and no information is hoarded. With the enviable precedence set by the Presidential Task Force PTF one wonders what enboldened Anambra Covid 19 Task Force to be discreet with the administration of huge financial donations warehoused to fight the dreaded disease. Where is the Fund? Is it Used or Abused? Asim kam jua……