N11.9bn stolen from Kwara treasury in eight years

Abdulrahman abdulrazaq
Abdulrahman abdulrazaq

According to a forensic audit study, N11.9 billion in public monies were illegally removed from the Kwara State treasury between 2011 and 2019 without being connected to any projects or programs.

Along with other astounding disclosures, the forensic audit study uncovered suspected mismanagement throughout the time period.

Rafiu Ajakaye, the chief press secretary to Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said this in a statement on Thursday.

The audit also revealed that in February 2019, with only one month till the general election, N2 billion in cash withdrawals that were unrelated to any projects or official expenses were done in a span of eight days.

The study also disclosed a case where a public official received years’ worth of pay from two distinct sources.

Prof. Anthony Iniomoh said the report is in two volumes and includes information on Harmony Holdings Limited, the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service, capital receipts, internal and external loans, recurrent/overhead expenditure, personnel costs (salaries and wages), capital expenditure, and assets disposed of.

[quotation]“A few highlights of our findings may be necessary for the record. Our forensic audit revealed 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 totaling N6,023,358,444, amongst other key findings.

“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. A preconceived attempt to defraud the state”,[/quotation]

According to Iniomoh, the report saw instances of companies receiving significant public funding without any documentation of work completed.”

He also revealed that N2.06 billion in cash was removed in eight days in February 2019 without any supporting documents being made accessible to verify the reason for the removal.

He said that the audit team was unable to verify a number of additional large-scale cash withdrawals made by the state over the time period totaling billions of naira.

He said that the audit showed that loans were taken out by the Kwara State Government throughout the time period under consideration.

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

While some matters are to be sent to an administrative panel of inquiry for certain persons to explain their participation in the numerous transgressions, the study nevertheless recommended to the government that it prosecute some of the people and businesses accused in the two-volume report.

AbdulRazaq, who received the study, stated that the disclosures were extremely upsetting but not unexpected given the trends of the time period.

[quotation name=’Governor AbdulRazaq’]“We thank you for the robust work. It confirms what we have been saying all along.

“We also 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.

“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”.[/quotation]

Prof. Mamma Saba Jubril, secretary to the state government, Senior Ibrahim Suleiman, attorney general and commissioner of justice, Florence Olasumbo Oyeyemi, commissioner for finances, AbdulGaniyu Sani, accountant general of the state, and Abdulrazaq Folorunsho, permanent secretary of the ministry of finance, all attended the event.

Tijani Dako and Bamidele Sobiye are other members of the audit business.



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