By Hammed Shittu
The Kwara State Governor, Mr. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, yesterday inaugurated the Commission of Inquiry to examine the legality and fairness of the sale of the state’s public assets between 1999 and 2019.
AbdulRazaq also inaugurated the panel of inquiry that would investigate allegations that his administration has diverted N300 million belonging to local government.
He said: “While the commission of inquiry on the sale of assets has two months to submit its report, the panel on the diversion of the local government’s funds was given two weeks to submit its findings.”
The governor also disclosed that he has invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to launch a probe into the local governments’ allocation and disbursements. The letter from the governor to the EFCC was dated July 14, 2020, while the EFCC acknowledged the receipt of the letter on July 23.
He recalled that the Kwara State’s House of Assembly had also started looking into the allegations to ascertain the truth.
AbdulRazaq said the inquiry into the sale of assets fitted into the pledge in his inaugural address to look into the past only to the extent that such would benefit the public and ensure that the mistakes of the past were not repeated by the current occupiers of public office.
He said: “The setting up of this commission of inquiry serves to establish the fairness and legality of how properties acquired with public funds were sold or acquired by private concerns. This is to be done with full considerations for the rights of all parties to fair hearing.
“Where any of these public assets are found to have been unlawfully acquired or sold, the government will take all necessary steps to retrieve such along with other measures the commission may recommend to avert such in the future. In doing this, we recognise that we are setting a standard with which we may also be held to account after leaving office.
“This is why I urge every serving public official to remember this day and act accordingly. In other words, this is not so much about those who may be caught in this inquiry but so much about those of us serving and others to come after us.”
AbdulRazaq said his administration is committed to avoid the mismanagement of local government funds or any public funds, adding that the up-to-date payment of 100 percent salaries to the workers was due to the prudence of the government.
“Until our coming, salaries of local government workers have either been amputated or delayed for weeks with arrears that run into billions of naira. We ended the era of salary delays and incomplete salary majorly on account of prudence, discipline and a determination not to mismanage public funds,” he said.