• Says allegations outrageous
• Invites EFFC for probe
• ‘Any official found culpable shall be accountable‘
Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has claimed that he has not diverted funds belonging to the Local Government as peddled in some sections of the media, noting that he would never venture into such, as his stance on local government autonomy remains intact.
He also invited the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to wade into the allegation, as he moves to set up an independent panel to probe the claim.
This much was contained in a statement signed by Rafiu Ajakaye, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor today.
According to him, “Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has invited the anti-graft agency EFCC to conduct an independent probe into funds so far received and disbursed to the 16 local government areas between May 2019 and now.
“A panel of inquiry comprising members from various backgrounds will also be set up to look into the Local Governments’ funds.
“For the sake of accountability and transparency, the Governor is hereby calling in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct urgent probe into funds so far received as allocations and spent by the 16 local government between May 29 and now.
“Separately, the Governor will also be setting up a Panel of inquiry in the immediate to look into the same issues. Members of the panel and its terms of reference would be announced soon.
The governor also noted that the claims that he diverted local government funds were outrageous, adding that he has nothing to hide.
“This probe is borne out of the fact that this administration has not touched a kobo of money belonging to the local governments. It has nothing to hide. But for abundance of caution, the Governor will be tasking not just the EFCC but also a panel of inquiry with members drawn from various backgrounds to investigate the LG funds, how they have been spent, and expose any mismanagement or diversion of the funds (if any).
“The call becomes necessary in view of the outrageous claims by some persons that money to the tune of N300m was diverted monthly from LG accounts. The administration feels this deserves to be probed and laid to rest because governance is about public trust.
AbdulRazaq also sought the State House of Assembly to hold a public hearing on the matter, assuring that any official found culpable would be held accountable.
“Similarly, His Excellency appeals to the House of Assembly — which comprises the elected representatives of the people with oversight powers — to hold a public hearing on the said matter.
“The Governor restates that he would not be found mismanaging or siphoning public funds. He maintains his stand, which dated back to his days in the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), that the local governments should be allowed to manage their own funds with minimal or no supervision by the State as the law may allow. He insists that any official found to have diverted or mismanaged public funds under him would be made to account for same as prescribed under the law.”