‘N11.9b stolen from Kwara treasury in eight years’
N2b cash withdrawn a month to 2019 poll
At least, N11.9 billion of public funds was carted away from the Kwara State treasury between 2011 and 2019 without lawful tie to any project, a forensic audit report has revealed.
The audit report commissioned by the state government had it that N2 billion cash withdrawals not tied to any project or official expenditure was made within eight days in February 2019, one month to the general election.
Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Kwara State Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, stated, that the revelation was gleaned from the report submitted to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, yesterday, by SSAC and Professionals, the firm that conducted the audit.
According to Partner at SSAC and Professionals, Anthony Iniomoh, the report is in two volumes covering Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) Capital Receipts, Internal and External Loans, Recurrent/Overhead Expenditure, Personnel Cost (Salaries and Wages), Capital Expenditure, Assets Disposed, Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KIRS), Infrastructural Fund Kwara (IFK), Harmony Holdings Limited, among others.
He said: “A few highlights of our findings may be necessary for the record. Our forensic audit revealed a colossal pilfering of N11,981,268,709, which we recommended should be recovered to the public coffers. Similarly, we recommended to the state government to prosecute certain officers and companies in addition to claiming exemplary damages on transactions totalling N6,023,358,444 among other key findings.”
“This is especially so in the cases of firms that we observed were paid huge public funds without any evidence of work done on record. In one instance, records show that a firm that was incorporated at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on June 14, 2016, was paid by the state government for a contract it purportedly executed for the state in April of the same year. It became apparent that this was a preconceived attempt to defraud the state.”
The report suggested to the government to prosecute some individuals and firms indicted in the two-volume report, while other issues are to be referred to administrative panel of inquiry for some individuals to explain their roles in the many infractions.
On his part, the governor said the revelations were truly disturbing but hardly surprising, given the patterns of events in those years.
His words: “We thank you for the robust work. It confirms what we have been saying all along. We also saw that it has taken a bit of time and I know that there were certain deliberate efforts to obstruct your work. That was why it has taken some time because you have made certain complaints about that and we tried to push those that were supposed to open the doors to make the doors easy for you.
“Your report, like others, will help us to steadily put the state in the right direction to deepen transparency and accountability. We will go through the report fully and look into your recommendations. Few things you said are mind-boggling, especially withdrawing cash of over N2 billion a month to the election and all sorts of infractions that took place. Certainly, we shall progress from here and do the needful.”