Nigeria: N11.9bn Stolen From Kwara Between 2011 and 2019, Forensic Audit Reveals

A forensic audit company hired by the Kwara State Government yesterday disclosed that about N11.9 billion of public funds were allegedly carted away from the treasury of the state between 2011 and 2019 without any project or programme to show for it.

Also, the forensic audit revealed that N2 billion cash withdrawals were not tied to any project or official expenditure were made within eight days in February 2019, barely one month to the general election.

But a former governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed on whose tenure the funds were allegedly withdrawn has described the allegations as preposterous, naïve, unspecific and generally unfounded.

Ahmed in a statement issued yesterday signed by his former Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba said, “Every expenditure during the period under review was properly appropriated and followed due process. If there were infractions as alleged, there are laid down procedures for correction.

“Since we left office more than three years ago, the accounts have been properly audited by various auditing agencies and had been certified. Any query now, six months to election, on the legality or otherwise of the expenditure, are after thought and politically motivated.”

However, submitting the report to the state governor, Alhaji AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in Ilorin yesterday, a Partner at SSAC and Professionals, Mr. Anthony Inumoh said, “the report is in two volumes covering internally generated revenue; capital receipts; internal and external loans; recurrent/overhead expenditure; personnel cost (salaries and wages); capital expenditure; assets disposed; Kwara State Internal Revenue Service; Infrastructural Fund Kwara (IFK); Harmony Holdings Limited; amongst others.”

Other members of the audit firm were Tijani Dako and Bamidele Sobiye.

According to him, “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.”

Inumoh stated that, “Similarly, we recommended to the state government to prosecute certain officers and companies in addition to claiming exemplary damages on transactions totaling N6,023,358,444, amongst 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.”

He added, “In one instance, records show that a firm that was incorporated at the Corporate Affairs Commission on 14th June, 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.

“There was an instance of public officer getting paid at two different places for years, which is a clear breach of the law.

“Other infractions arising as a result of obvious conflict of interest and violation of due process were also spotlighted for the government to draw up new policy instruments to prevent such in the future.”

Speaking further, he said: “There was also a cash withdrawal within eight days of N2.06 billion in February 2019, which was of interest to the audit.

“However, no documentation was made available to validate the purpose for which the money was withdrawn. There were also several other cash withdrawals within the state over the period running into billions of naira which we could not validate.

“These and others have been recommended to be referred to an Administrative Panel of Enquiry.

“Furthermore, the audit revealed that loans were obtained by the Kwara State Government within the period under review.

“The elements of these loans could not be validated. Above all, the bank accounts to which these loans were disbursed to and what the loans were used for could not be established or validated.”

He therefore suggested to the government to prosecute some individuals and firms indicted in the two volume report, while other issues should be referred to administrative panel of inquiry for some individuals to explain their roles in the many infractions.

Receiving the report, the state governor, AbdulRazaq said the revelations were truly disturbing but hardly surprising, given the patterns of events in those years.

He said, “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.”

The governor added, “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.

“With few things said, it is 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.”

Source:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.