By Mosunmola Ayobami, Kwara
The Retired Justice Mathew Adewara-led panel of inquiry into the alleged diversion of N300million monthly allocation from local government funds in Kwara State has begun sitting in Ilorin, the state capital.
Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq had inaugurated the panel of inquiry to investigate allegations that his administration was diverting N300million of Local government funds every month.
At its sitting on Thursday, the panel received briefings from the Directors of Personnel Management (DPMs) and their Accountants from Asa, Ilorin East, Ilorin South, and Ilorin West Local Government Areas.
Members of the panel interrogated the local government officials in respect of their payrolls, bank accounts, bank statements, statutory allocation papers, schedules of local government internally generated revenues, and cash books.
The DPM Asa Local Government Abdullah Haruna told the panel he was not aware of any diversion of funds meant for his local government, saying no such record exists to the best of his knowledge.
“I don’t know anything about N300million. From my side, I don’t know anything about any such thing,” he said at the session.
Oyebami Gabriel of Ilorin East Local Government also denied knowledge of the N300million allegedly being diverted from his local government funds.
“I don’t know anything about it at all. All the accrued allocations to my local government do come,” he told the panel.
Gabriel also disclosed that the state government under Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has never borrowed any money to pay salaries on behalf of the local government workers.
DPM Ilorin South Local Government Abdulkareem Magaji insisted that no money was being diverted from his local government funds.
“As far as I am concerned, there is no diversion of funds. To the best of my knowledge, no money is diverted from Ilorin South local government funds.”
Corroborating, the Accountant of the council Emmanuel Audu said the state government in 2018 took a loan of N4billion from a commercial bank to pay two months’ salaries and pensions of local government workers and SUBEB teachers and had been fully paid back by the 16 local governments as at December 2019.
Audu added that another N1.6billion loan took on behalf of the LGs by the past administration in the state would be fully paid by August 2022.
In the same vein, the DPM Ilorin West local government Ayantola Mukaila said the local government was receiving its due allocation since May 2019 while staff and SUBEB teachers also get their salaries regularly since May 2019.
While addressing the respondents, the chairman of the panel Justice Mathew Adewara clarified that the commission was on fact-finding mission into the allegation of diversion of funds into the 16 local government areas of the state between May, 2019 and July 2020 and not to probe any personality.
“We are not prosecuting you. We are to investigate the alleged diversion of N300million from Local government funds. We will do our jobs based on the terms of references given to us.”
The hearing continues with local government councils in Kwara South on Friday.