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Published On: Thu, May 29th, 2014

Panel uncovers massive fraud in Niger LGs

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From Yakubu Mustapha, Minna

The Commission of Inquiry set up by the Niger state government to investigate alleged illegal misappropriation of funds in two local government areas has discovered massive looting of public funds and disregard to laid down rules in Rafi and Borgu local government areas of the state.

Submitting the report of the Commission to the Acting Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Musa Ibeto at government house yesterday, Chairman of the Commission of inquiry Justice Aisha Bawa Bwari lamented that the situation was so pathetic that hajj deposits by intending pilgrims were diverted to private use by elected local government Chairmen and their councilors in the two local government areas.

She disclosed that in one of the local government areas deposits by 30 intending pilgrims were diverted with the suspended Chairman promising to refund the money while in the second local government area the savings by 13 intending pilgrims were diverted.

In a bid to avoid accountability, she explained that all directives by the chairmen were given verbally, adding that there was no award of contract that was documented.

Bwari gave the example of a 40-kilometer road project, which grading was to cost the local government area N16m with only N1.3m expended on the job and the balance of the money ‘disappeared into thin air after it was collected from the treasury’ by the suspended chairman of the council.

The commission’s chairman also said the panel discovered that the Borgu local government area collected tenement rate of N8m monthly from the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), through a tax consultant, from November 2012 to June 2013, making a total of N64m, but that only N9m was paid into the account of the local government.

The commission cited another instance where the chairman of one of the local government collected N8m monthly from the monthly allocation of the local government area without giving account for the money.

Receiving the nine volume report the acting Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Musa Ibeto thanked the commission for a job well done and promised that all the recommendations will be studied and implemented.

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