*Rtd Justice Adewara chairs panel
Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has set up an eight-person panel of inquiry to investigate the federal allocations accruing to the 16 local government areas of the state as well as their share of the internally generated revenue from May 29, 2019 to date.
“In pursuance of the powers conferred on the Governor of Kwara State under the Commission of Inquiry Law CAP, C17 Laws of Kwara State, 2006 and other enabling law in that regard, I, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, the Governor of Kwara State, hereby constitutes a panel of inquiry into local government federal allocations and IGR accruing to local government councils from May 29 to date,” the governor said in a statement announcing the panel on Monday night.
The statement listed retired Justice Mathew Olabamiji Adewara as the Chairman of the panel, with Mrs Sabitiyu Grillo, a Permanent Secretary, appointed as the Secretary of the panel.
The panel comprises of a representative of the Department of State Services (DSS); Nigeria Police Force; Mrs Titilayo Adedeji; Alhaji Baba Ibrahim; Barrister Aisha Bello Mohammed; and Alhaja Asmau Apalando, the statement added.
“The panel of inquiry is mandated to investigate and probe funds received and disbursed to all the 16 local government councils of Kwara State from May 29 2019 to date,” it stated.
The statement listed the terms of reference of the panel to include:
*to ascertain the amounts received by local governments as statutory allocation from the federal government from May 2019 to date;
*to determine and ascertain the amounts received by the local governments as IGR from the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) from May 29 2019 to date;
*to determine and ascertain the amounts received by the local governments from other sources into the Joint Allocation Account Committee (JAAC) from May 29 2019 to date;
*to investigate the veracity of the claim of N300m monthly deduction by the Kwara State government from the local government funds from May 29 2019 to date;
*o determine whether the state government borrowed money from banks or financial institutions to pay salaries at any point in time from May 29 2019 to date;
*to determine how the funds mentioned above were spent monthly by the JAAC;
*to determine the duplicity or otherwise of any Kwara State public official on the matter of local government funds;
*to provide any other information that may assist the state government in ensuring accountability at all times with respect to the state’s activities and the local governments.
The statement said the panel has two weeks to submit its report.
The setting up of the panel came amid the Governor’s official invitation to the anti-graft body EFCC and the House of Assembly to investigate the issue.
AbdulRazaq has repeatedly said he remains true to his electoral promise not to touch a kobo of local government funds in compliance with not just the NFIU guidelines but his longstanding belief in the local government autonomy for grassroots development.