COMMISSIONERS ADMIT FINANCIAL IRREGULARITIES AS HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROBES ADAMAWA GOVT

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MEMBERS of the Adamawa State House of Assembly were shocked when during an investigation of government activities, three commissioners admitted to spending monies that were not appropriated for in the budget.
Commissioner for Works, Alhaji Umar Atiku, who was the first to be ushered into the House chambers, admitted that contracts in his ministry were inflated by over 100 percent.
Two others: Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Lillian Stephen and Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Alhaji Ibrahim Garko that were escorted by the Adamawa Police Commissioner, Mr. John Abasanga to the House also admitted to spending monies that were not appropriated in the budget.
Umar, who was shown some documents of contracts in his ministry by the member representing Hong Constituency, Mr. Thelma Wanfari, admitted that contracts were inflated. The documents showed that roads contracts awarded for N400million were allegedly jacked up to N800million, while contracts awarded at N1billion were allegedly inflated to N2 billion.
The commissioner also confessed that the 3.1kilometre Jimeta-Yola road rehabilitation was awarded at N2.6 billion, but could not explain when the speaker of the House Alhaji Ahmed Umaru Fintri, asked him why a road of 35 kilometres cost N4.5billion and 3.1 kilometres road without a culvert was awarded at such huge sum.
Umar told the House that Dekit Construction Company was paid N500 million for a contract awarded to the firm, but the company disappeared without doing the work and added that Hydro Source Construction Company was also paid N300 million for expansion of Mubi by-pass but the firm has failed to move to site for over one year.
Commissioner for Health, Mrs. Lillian Stephen, who was interrogated for over three hours, admitted that she exceeded her budget spending without supplementary budget.
Stephen, who initially denied release of monies to her ministry by the finance ministry, however, accepted the allegation when a member of the House tendered some documents from the finance ministry to her.
Member representing Michika Constituency Mr. Adamu Kamale told the commissioner that despite the billions of naira she claimed to have spent on hospitals, the state’s health sector is in a bad shape.
What raised members’ temper was the ministry’s N8 million memo that money be released for one of the governor’s wife to travel to France. The Speaker became visibly angry and asked, “Is the wife of the governor a staff or a director in the ministry of health?
The commissioner was unable to explain why the ministry took over the responsibility of sponsoring governor’s wife foreign trip with public funds.
Deputy Speaker Laori Kwamoti said that the explanation of the commissioner has confirmed the massive fraud going on in the running of government affairs, pointing out that the contradictory statements by the commissioner of health were pointer to the fraud going on in the state.
Garko, who told the lawmakers that his ministry has five different accounts, however, admitted that he misled the governor into signing some memos, when a lawmaker tendered memos running into hundreds of millions of Naira from his office.
Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Kobis Ari Thinmu did not appear in the Assembly and the House gave him another opportunity to appear on the floor of the House to explain the activities of his office. Other commissioners will appear today and Wednesday this week.
Source: Guardian

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