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A forensic audit study has revealed, among other astounding findings of alleged wrongdoing during the period, that at least N11.9bn of public funds were carted away from the treasury of Kwara State between 2011 and 2019 without any lawful linkage to any project or activity.
The audit also revealed that in February 2019, with only one month to the general election, N2 billion in cash withdrawals made within eight days were unrelated to any projects or official expenses.
Speaking during the submission of the report to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Thursday, Partner at the SSAC and Professionals Anthony Iniomoh 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 said at the presentation of the report.
“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.
“A public official received years’ worth of pay from two different sources, which is blatantly against the law. Other violations resulting from blatant conflicts of interest and violations of due process were also brought to light in order for the government to develop new policy tools to stop such transgressions in the future.
“The audit was interested in a cash withdrawal of N2.06 billion in February 2019 that was made within 8 days. The reason the money was removed, however, was not supported by any evidence. Over the period, there were a number of other cash withdrawals made within the state totaling billions of Naira that we were unable to verify.
“These loans’ components could not be verified. Above importantly, it was impossible to establish or confirm the bank accounts to which these loans were disbursed or the purposes for which they were employed.
While some matters are to be sent to an administrative panel of inquiry for some persons to explain their roles in the numerous transgressions, the report recommended to the government that it prosecute some individuals and corporations accused in the two volume report.
According to Governor AbdulRazaq, the discoveries were extremely upsetting but not entirely unexpected given the trends of the time.
“We appreciate your hard work, and It backs up what we’ve been saying, he continued.
“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.
“With few things you said know, it is mind-boggling especially withdrawing cash of over N2bn a month to the election and all sorts of infractions that took place. Certainly, we shall progress from here and do the needful.”
The event was attended by the Secretary to the State Governor Prof. Mamma Saba Jubril; Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice Senior Ibrahim Suleiman; Commissioner for Finance Florence Olasumbo Oyeyemi; Accountant General of the State AbdulGaniyu Sani; Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance Abdulrazaq Folorunsho.
Other members of the audit firm are Tijani Dako and Bamidele Sobiye.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
September 1, 2022