*Commends Gov’s rare openness
Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
The Panel of inquiry on the finances of the 16 local governments in Kwara State has stated that allegations that the state government diverted or deducted N300 million monthly from local government funds since May 2019 to date are false and baseless.
The panel, which stated this on Wednesday while submitting its report to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, also said that there was no evidence that the administration has borrowed to pay salary or pension since it was inaugurated on May 29, 2019.
Governor AbdulRazaq had on August 11 inaugurated the panel, headed by Retired Justice Matthew Adewara, to investigate the allegations of diversion of local government funds or borrowings from the bank to pay salaries of local government workers.
“We want to state categorically that there is no evidence either oral or documentary to support the allegation of N300 million monthly deduction from the local government funds by the state government. The allegation of such deductions is therefore baseless, unfounded and false,” Justice Mathew Adewara declared.
Justice Adewara said a total of 35 witnesses testified before the panel while several documents were produced and tendered by them. He said the panel also visited some of the local governments to see what projects they have done as had earlier been submitted by the Directors of Personnel Management (DPMs) who appeared before the panel.
The report of the panel meanwhile has found that the state government “does not deduct money from the SUBEB account while salaries of teaching and non-teaching staff are paid as and when due from May 29 to date.”
Adewara said the panel only received a memorandum from the Elite Network for Sustainable Development (ENETSUD), adding, however, that the questions the civic group raised in its memo were “all based on incomplete information sourced from the internet and social media.”