By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
The Bauchi State Government has opened yet another can of worms by referring of cases of alleged infractions in the finances of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Ministry for Local Government Affairs and the State Orphans and Vulnerable Children Agency from May 2007 and May 2015 which it earlier investigated to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for further actions.
Governor Mohammed Abubakar want the anti-graft agency take stringent measures and bring to book all those involved in the alleged financial fraud no matter how highly placed with a view to returning the amounts misappropriated to the Bauchi State government.
The twist followed the submission of the report of Air Commodore Tijjani Gamawa Committee which earlier investigated activities of the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board, Ministry for Local Government Affairs and the Bauchi State Orphans and Vulnerable Children Agency and the constitution of a White Paper
Drafting Committee also submitted its report to Government for consideration, and the subsequent approval given by the State Executive Council that adopted the recommendations of the Committee.
“In the Ministry of Local Government Affairs, it was discovered that from April 2007 to May 2015 about N349 billion was received as revenue from the Federation Accounts by the Ministry out of which over N272 billion was expended while the balance of about N76 billion could not be accounted for by anyone”.
The Governor added, “Consequently, Council approved the recommendation that the issue be referred to a High Powered Committee to ascertain the level of involvement of all government officers mentioned to enable Government in taking appropriate action”.
He said council also approved that relevant government officials mentioned in the report be made to refund over N2 billion released for the provision of infrastructural facilities in the sectors of Health, Education and Security across the 20 local government areas but which was not implemented.
On the State Universal Basic Education Board, it was discovered that the sum of over N930 million was obtained as loan by the board without following due process and monies deposited in a fixed deposit account from which N74 million interest was realized and carted away by some staff of the board.
According to the White Paper Committee, over N132 million was paid as supervision allowances/NATA to some officers and companies, contrary to the provision of extant laws, council similarly approved the recommendation of the committee that respective officers and companies mentioned in the report be made to immediately refund the said amounts to the government.
The White Paper Committee further discovered that under the period under review, N2 billion was granted as loan by the Central Bank of Nigeria to Micro Finance Banks across the state while only N500 million was disbursed to the 13 Micro Finance Banks, leaving N1.5 billion said to have been expended in the name of security vote, as council approved that the relevant government officers involved be made to immediately refund the amounts.
The Committee also reported that under questionable circumstances, the sum of about N490 million was said to have been expended by the Bauchi State Orphans and Vulnerable Children, and council also approved that the officers be made to immediately refund all the monies against them.
The State Executive Council also directed the Head of State Civil Service to immediately initiate appropriate disciplinary actions against all the Civil servants involved.
By; MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi