September 20, 2021

ICAN, Governor Obaseki’s former commissioner expose fraud in his government- Report

Edo State under the stewardship of Governor Godwin Obaseki has been ranked worst performer in terms of accountability in the management of public finance, scoring 3 per cent of the required information in an assessment report (for 2019 fiscal year) that was conducted by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

This position was collaborated by a former civil commissioner who served in Mr Obaseki’s government in the period under review, saying “corruption looms large under his watch.”

Edo State scored 5 per cent in 2018 in the same survey but dropped by 2 points in 2019.

In terms of non-access to information to rate the state’s handling of state funds, Edo State was rated 97 per cent in 2019, and 95 per cent in 2018, Trojan News reports.

Some of the states like Rivers and Adamawa, which recorded 2 per cent each in 2018, recorded significant improvement in public finance management by 37 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.

Out of the 36 states of the federation, Kaduna state has the highest score of 72.7 per cent of the required information for the survey on public finance, according to the report that was obtained by this

Kaduna State improved from 74 per cent in 2018 to 87 per cent in 2018, the report showed.

In general, the entire country showed a low level of transparency. The year’s report showed a 7 per cent improvement over the previous year’s assessment. This is so despite the various regulations and laws in Nigeria mandating the availability of such information for public consumption.

“The situation does not only show lack of  credibility on the part of governments at all levels; it also shows the need to identify and strengthen all areas militating against public finance management system in Nigeria,” ICAN said in reaction to the outcome of the report.

The organisation observed that there was a need to review some of the laws that had become obsolete in the context of recent global and local developments and to also harmonise the many laws and regulations dealing with public finance management system in Nigeria.

The assessment was done based on four-grade scoring model: high-level of performance that meets good international practice; sound performance above the basic level; basic level of performance broadly consistent with good international practice and either less than the basic level of performance or insufficiency of information to score.

The report showed an improvement of awareness and responsiveness by the government compared to previous report. Nevertheless, overall performance was poor with an average score per government of 32.4 per cent.

The former commissioner further told Trojan News correspondent to “check with the ministry of infrastructure and the public procurement agency his observation and come back to him.

“For instance secretariat building was verbally awarded to a Lebanese-owned firm, St Saviour road, Lucky way, the new festival hall was awarded to another Lebanese owned firm verbally without EXCO approval.

“When we resumed in July that year, they presented the papers to us for consideration and approval and during this period there was no tenders board as well.

“Everything was done hush- hush and some of were surprised because we had lawyers, engineers and experienced attorneys like the former commissioner for justice in the cabinet.

“Its not surprising therefore that this report is daming on Edo. Sometimes the governor will direct that adverts should be placed in newspapers for jobs numbering 100s but shockingly they will in turn award it to their cronies without recourse to the bids bought by unsuspecting members of the public.

“This happened with SUBEB contracts and EDSOPADEC jobs. Its sad.

“Obaseki government has a serious case to answer after his tenure no matter how they try to clean up the mess.

“I regretted ever serving under that government as a commissioner.

“Do you even know that the vehicles they gave to us as commissioners were passed as new but they were actually refurbished pajeros?

“They were supplied by one of his boys from lagos.

“We complained but they told us to park the cars if we don’t like them.

“We managed the cars until we were dissolved in November 2020.

“Go to government house today all the hilux vehicles are all second hand but the government paid for them as new.

“Recently the same thing with sienna purchased for the police”, the former commissioner who is shy of the print media said. (Credit: Trojan News)

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