The Katsina judicial commission of inquiry on missing funds and properties has said Ibrahim Shema, a former governor, allegedly diverted N58.5 billion from state coffers.
Ado Ma’aji, chairman of the commission, said N58.5 billion was unaccounted for by the previous administration.
He made this known while presenting the commission’s report to Aminu Masari, the state governor, on Sunday.
The amount is N3 billion higher than the initial N55.5 billion the commission had identified in its interim report – a difference which he said was the outcome of “painstaking and critical” verification exercise.
He said more than N17.9 billion was found to have been diverted under the subsidy reinvestment programme (SURE-P) and that over N14.9 billion went unaccounted for under the state’s roads maintenance agency (KASROMA).
He also said more than N10.1 billion was also unaccounted for in the activities of the ministry of environment, department of community development, special duties, girl child education and Almajiri affairs.
He added that over N15.4 billion was also missing from the activities of the ministry of local government and chieftaincy affairs as well as the association of local governments of Nigeria (ALGON).
Ma’aji said the bulk of the amount was withdrawn from the state’s joint local account into ALGON’s account.
He cited an instance of “87 cheques of between N9 million and N10 million withdrawn in cash on the same day”.
“89 withdrawals were made on May 28, 2015, which was the twilight of Shema’s administration in the state,” he said.
The governor vowed to use “all legal means” to recover the money allegedly diverted by Shema’s administration.
Masari said the state government was only investigating direct withdrawals from bank accounts belonging to ministries and parastatals.
He said that a white paper on the issue would soon be forwarded to the state ministry of justice “for legal consideration”.
“The amount in question is so huge that it cannot be a mistake,” he said. “If we have such money, we would have transformed the state and made it much better than what it is now.
“Government will take immediate action on officials found to be involved. We’ll look at the system and those wrongs not connected to individuals would be checked to forestall future occurrence.”
Reacting to the allegation, Shema said he was being witch-hunted by his predecessor.
Speaking through Oluwabusola Olawale, one of his aides, Shema denied committing the alleged fraud during his tenure.
He also said he executed “meaningful projects” for the development of the state.
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