Kaduna â€” The Kaduna State government has suspended two top management staff of the Kaduna State Development and Property Company (KSDPC) Limited for allegedly defrauding the company of N9,689,530.13.
The officials were suspended after pleading guilty to the alleged offence as well as offering to pay back the money to the companyâ€™s account.
Sources said the two officials allegedly connived with officials of a new generation bank with a branch office along Yakubu Gowon Way, Kaduna to perpetrate the act between July 1Â and August 10, 2009.
According to sources, the alleged fraud was discovered by the companyâ€™s internal auditors who immediately alerted the managing director of the company, Mr. Jofas Bako.
In a memo to Mr. Bako dated August 30, 2009 entitled: â€œFinancial, gross misconduct/illegal withdrawal of funds,â€ the auditors stated that the two top officials (names withheld) illegally withdrew N7.4 million, but it was later discovered that the missing money within the period amounted to over N9.6 million.
It was learnt that when the alleged fraud blew open, the two officers constituted a probe panel and appointed themselves members of the committee.
The memo which was signed by the Senior Audit Manager, Emmanuel Makuryetinim, read in part, â€œit is imperative that your kind and immediate attention be drawn to the above subject matter.
â€œIn the course of our normal routine checks, we discovered that the total sum of N7.4 million has been illegally withdrawn.
â€œFurther inquest revealed that the said sum was withdrawn without due approval from either the Managing Director/Chief Executive or any supporting document as prescribed by the financial regulations of the organisation.
â€œThe amount in question was withdrawn within the month of July 1, 2009 and August 10, 2009.
â€œOur findings also revealed that this fraudulent act was perpetrated primarily by two officers namely…
â€œFor the purpose of clarity and easy articulation of this report, signatures to our accounts are as follows. â€“ 1, the managing Director as A, 2, the AGMFA as B, and the EDFA as C alternate.
It was however learnt that further enquiries by the KSPDC revealed that the two officers allegedly connived withÂ some officials of aÂ new generation bank to withdraw the money at various times to the tune of over N9.6million.
In a query signed by the Managing Director and Chief Executive of the company,Mr. Bako with reference KSDPC/C/14/1/61 datedÂ September 9, 2009,Â and entitled â€œillegal withdrawals/financial gross misconduct and embezzlementâ€ the company then directed the officers to explain why they should not be punished for their illegal action.
â€œI write to seek for explanation on the above subject matter as perpetrated by you… through connivance and illegal withdrawal of the sum of money up to the tune of N9, 689, 530, 13 in the companyâ€™sâ€ bank account number 238430000023601 between the period of June 22, 2009 and August 13, 2009.
â€œI have records of all approvals I have given and I know that I have never directly or indirectly authorized such withdrawals and such, I regard such financial contravention of the state financial instruction to be criminal and a clear sabotage of my administration, therefore, I seek explanation considering the seriousness and the financial criminality of these offences.
â€œI would want you to explain within 24 hours why punitive measures would not be meted on you for your incessant act of financial gross misconduct and embezzlement which clearly shows how you defrauded the company to the tune of N9, 689, 530.13.
â€œYou are expected to show course why administrative and legal action should not be taken against you for this act as perpetrated by youâ€ the query read.
In their replies to the query, dated September 11, 2009,Â they owned up that they defrauded theÂ company but appealed to the Managing Director to temper justice with mercy and allow them to refund the amount. â€œI am sorry for whatever this must have caused. I am sorry for not replying within 24 hoursâ€, one of the officers stated in his handwritten reply to the query.
Also in his response to the query dated September 10, 2009, the second officer argued that the amount withdrawn was not up to theÂ said N9, 689, 530.13, and wondered how the figure was arrived at.
â€œThe said illegal amount withdrawn could not be up to the N9, 689, 530.13. Also the amount involved as quoted in the query include salary and other deductions/ payments for the month of July 2009.
â€œHowever I am ready to make refunds of whatever amount that would be arrived at by the investigation panel to avoid any punitive measures against me. I will make necessary refunds. I beg you in the name of God to render(sic) justice with mercy, and not to take any administrative or legal action against meâ€, he pleaded.
But in his letter informing the Kaduna state Commissioner for Works, about the matter, Mr. Bako regretted that the officers were trying to sabotage the efforts of Governor Namadi Sambo aimed at providing houses for the masses.
â€œIt is in this respect of the above ugly development that I write to respectfully inform you accordingly on the unfolding events in the Kaduna state Development and Property Company limited and the administrative steps that I have taken thus farâ€¦â€, he stated.