Simon Achuba, the deputy governor of Kogi State, has accused Governor Yahaya Bello of failing to account for N53.8 billion funds the state received between 2016 and last year.
But the state government, in a swift reaction, described the allegation by the deputy governor as a blatant lie.
However, documents made available to Vanguard on Wednesday, August 6, 2019, indicated that the amount consisted of unaccounted receipts from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee, FAAC, in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
The allegation is coming on the heels of a fierce contest for All Progressives Congress, APC, ticket in the November 16, 2019 governorship election in Kogi State.
The documents showed that Kogi State government received a total of N104. 239 billion within the three-year period under reference. However, only N50.455 billion was received by the Joint Account Allocation Committee (which is supposed to share funds between the state government and the local councils), leaving a shortfall of N53.783 billion.
The breakdown showed that in 2016, the state got N26,146,999,320.62 but only N9,297,742,330.72 was paid into the JAAC, leaving a shortfall of N16,849,256,989.88. Similarly, in 2017, the state received N34,549,400,031.71 but only N20,152,671,103.51 got into the JAAC, leaving N14,396,728,928.20 unaccounted for. Last year, the state received N43,543,198, 591.44 from FAAC but paid only N21,005,459,434.58 into the JAAC, leaving a shortfall of N22,537,739,156.86.
How N4 billion was allegedly siphoned
Another document presented to Vanguard outlined how a separate N4 billion was allegedly siphoned from the public treasury through the governor’s cronies. It indicated that Kogi State government engaged the services of a consulting firm for purposes of revenue automation and management, as well as creation of tax payers’ data base.
The document showed that the consulting firm partnered an IT solution company for the automation, while a new generation bank was made the Bank for Revenue collection in the state. The consulting firm applied and secured a loan facility to the tune of N4 billion from the bank for the automation of internally generated revenue process of the state, repayable within eighteen months from Kogi State IGR account.
The document contained irregularities as the N4 billion loan amount was credited to the consulting firm’s account in the same bank on June 23, 2017. However, N3.9 billion was subsequently transferred to KGSG IGR Lead Account same day.
The same funds were moved that same day to KGSG/JAAC and then supposedly disbursed to all the 21 local government areas. Curiously, the funds said to have been transferred to the LGAs were withdrawn in cash, an indication that it must have been taken out of the system fraudulently.
The contention was that state government could not have honestly paid that amount to the consulting firm since the service provider had entered into an agreement with the government to take five per cent of tax earnings captured through the automated system.
Allegation false, Achuba’s doing hachet job — Kogi govt
Meanwhile, Kogi State government has described as false the deputy governor’s claim that Governor Bello could not account for N58.3 billion the state got from the federation account. Reacting on behalf of government, Director-General, Media and Publicity, Kingsley Fanwo, also described the deputy governor as an enemy of APC doing a hatchet job.
Fanwo said: “Elder Simon Achuba has been recruited by the enemies of Kogi State and All Progressives Congress, APC, for a hatchet job that is headed for doom.
“The allegations and figures bandied in the statement are politically woven to achieve an impossible end. The allegations are not only false but also ludicrous, unintelligent and not unexpected of a fellow who had been contracted to ensure the defeat of APC ahead of the general elections.
“Elder Simon Achuba has been frustrated by the busting of his many lies against the state government, and instead of retracing his steps and apologise to the government and people of Kogi State, he has decided to carry his desperation to the unimaginable height of recklessness.
“As a government, we will remain focused on delivering democracy dividends to the people of Kogi State. One of such is our ongoing Operation Power Kogi East Project, which is working to give electricity to over 200 communities in Kogi East.”
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