The Director of PR Protocol described the allegations as being misleading saying the amount requested for was meant for the minister and a five-member delegate team to a Conference on Tourism for Development in China.
Reacting to the tale, Mr Dama, the Director of Public Relations of Protocol to the Ministry described the allegations as been misleading saying the amount requested for was meant for the minister and a five member delegate to a Conference on Tourism for Development in China.
In a statement released by the Minister's spokesman, a loan of N13,120,470.00 to cover tickets and travel expenses of a five-member delegation being led by the Honourable Minister was requested from the National Broadcasting Commission with a letter to Acting Director General .
"The loan being requested for is for the Ministry to meet up its obligations to enable the Minister and members of his delegation attend an all important Conference on Tourism for Development in China, that is meant to benefit this country," the statement began.
Continuing, he said, 'the loan is not meant for the Honourable Minister alone as personal expenses, but for the expenses of all members of the delegation. The Conference, which is being organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation in conjunction with the Government of the People’s Republic of China, under the overall theme “Tourism for Peace and Development,” will feature amongst others discussions on major issues for sustainable development including the contribution of Tourism to poverty reduction and peace."
The statement further stressed that the money was not meant for Lai Mohammed and the letter was written after much discussions with the NBC boss.
'Please note, multiple letters were not written to government agencies as alleged, we only wrote to NBC after discussing with the Ag. DG. Payments were to be effected if the fund were loaned out based on extant financial regulations. There is nothing wrong with the request of the Ministry to meet up with an important assignment meant to benefit the country.
'Finally, the loan that was requested for is NOT meant for Lai Mohammed as being imputed but for the entire five members of the delegation to cover for tickets, travel allowances and other incidentals,' the statement read.
The Public Relations Director of the Protocol arm of the Minister also noted that the Minister and his delegation were to have discussion in China with Set Top Box Manufacturers, who are meant to establish manufacturing factories in Nigeria for the country's digital broadcasting processes, rather than the current situation in which the boxes are being imported.