19 June 2017

Nigeria: Masari Vows to Recover N58bn Allegedly Diverted Funds

Katsina — Katsina State Governor, Aminu Bello Masari yesterday vowed to recover over N58.5 billion allegedly diverted under his successor Alhaji Ibrahim Shehu Shema's administration no matter how long it took.

He said this when members of the state Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the loss of state funds and property presented its final report to him in Katsina.

Masari said the N58 billion was direct withdrawals made from government coffers and expenditures that were unaccounted for by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

He said a white paper on the issue would be sent to the state ministry of justice for legal consideration, even as he lamented that the amount was so huge that its diversion could not have been a mistake.

He added that immediate action would be taken on government officials who were involved in diversion of the funds, saying the state would do everything possible to avert a reoccurrence of such financial profligacy.

Chairman of the commission, Ado Muhammad Maaji, said following analysis and evaluation of the testimonies by witnesses, it was discovered that a whooping sum of N58.5 billion was unaccounted for after going through 13 memoranda presented to it.

He noted that the amount was against the over N55.9 billion in its interim report and that the difference was outcome of painstaking and critical verification of the figures in the main report.

He said more than N17.9 billion was diverted under the SURE-P and that over N14.9 billion was unaccounted for under the Katsina State Roads Maintenance Agency (KASROMA).

He added that over N10.1 billion was unaccounted for on the activities of the Ministry of the Environment, Department of Community Development, Special Duties, Girl Child Education and Almajiri Affairs.

"Over N15.4 billion was unaccounted for in the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs/ Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON).

"A bulk of the amount was withdrawn from the state's Joint Local Account into ALGON's account. There was an instance of 87 cheques of between N9 million and N10 million withdrawn in cash on the same day," he added.

He said the 89 withdrawals were made on May 28, 2015, which was the last day of the last administration.

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