N12 billion allegedly stolen from Kwara state under Abdulfatah Ahmed’s administration, says audit report

An audit report commissioned by the Kwara State Government has revealed that, about N11.9 billion was stolen from the treasury of the State under the administration of the former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed between 2011 and 2019.

Penpushing reports that a statement by Rafiu Ajakaye, Chief Press Secretary to the incumbent Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq attested to this discovery, explaining that the audit also showed that N2 billion cash withdrawals not tied to any project or official expenditure were made within eight days in February 2019, barely one month to the general election

‘ At least N11.9 billion of public funds were carted away from the treasury of Kwara State between 2011 and 2019 without any lawful tie to any project or programme, a forensic audit report has revealed, amid other mind-boggling revelations of alleged malfeasance within the period’, the statement said.

The audit also showed that N2 billion cash withdrawals not tied to any project or official expenditure were made within eight days in February 2019, barely one month to the general election’, the statement added.

Penpushing further reports that Partner at the SSAC and Professionals, Anthony Iniomoh, while speaking during the submission of the report to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Thursday, 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.

“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, amongst other key findings,” Inumoh.

“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 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’.

“There was also a cash withdrawal within 8 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”, Iniomoh emphasised

Penpushing also reports that, the committee suggested to the government to prosecute some individuals and firms indicted in the two-volume report, while other issues are to be referred to the administrative panel of inquiry for some individuals to explain their roles in the many infractions.

The Governor in reaction to the revelations   said they were truly disturbing but hardly surprising, given the patterns of events in those years, and commended the panel for what he described as a robust work

‘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’, he stated.

‘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’, the governor said.

‘With few things you said now, 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”

Penpushing reports that Abdulfatah Ahmed ruled the state between May 2011 and May 2019 under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was the state governor between May 2011 and May 2019.

The former Governor has in the past denied accusations of corruption but is still being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), however, other members of the audit firm include Tijani Dako and Bamidele Sobiye.

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