There is disquiet in Kogi State over alleged curious withdrawal of N450million from the state’s Ecological Fund account without due process, according to The Nations Newspaper.
The cash was withdrawn without the State Executive Council in place as required by the enabling law.
The account was drawn about two and a half weeks before the State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal delivered judgement on the polls that brought Governor Yahaya Bello to power.
But it was unclear last night what the cash was used for. Investigation showed the cash was drawn on May 16, 2016 from the Ecological Fund Account Number: 1016623580 domiciled in UBA.
The account had a balance of N706, 102, 350.21 as at January 19, 2016. A top source said: “The law governing the Ecological Fund says it must be discussed and approved by the State Executive Council.
“When the cash was withdrawn by government, there was no State Executive Council in place. There was no emergency ecological challenge in the state to have warranted such a huge spending.
“What is more baffling is that the cash was accessed barely two and a half weeks before the tribunal judgment on Kogi Governorship poll. The people of Kogi State want the state government to account for the whereabouts of the N450million.
“We want the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to pay attention to the ongoing developments before the state becomes bankrupt.”
Another source alleged that the state government is becoming reckless with public funds.
The source said the state recently secured a loan of N2.4bn froma commercial bank for Sustainable Development Goals.
“They’ve started spending the money despite not getting the required counterpart funding,” the source said.
He added: “The state government tried to withdraw another N450m from the infrastructure loan account with a bank but they refused, citing CBN guidelines that require transfers directly to contractors.
“Since then the state government has been using a Lebanese contractor to draw down on the funds.
“There is an abuse of the system and no respect for due process. For example, Agasa road in Okene LGA was awarded to a construction firm without following due process at a total cost N3.2billion with about N1.2 billion mobilization fee already paid.
“Apart from the construction of nine roundabouts at a cost of N100m each, a Prado jeep cost the state government N78million. The weekly cost of cleaning Government House is N16m.”