…Laments diversion of N2B SME fund
By Demola Akinyemi
Ilorin—Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State, yesterday said his administration would partner the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to combat graft, including recovering of funds looted from the state’s treasury.
AbdulRazaq lamented that corruption had almost crippled the state when he took over on May 29, claiming that the N2 billion the state accessed to boost small scale businesses was diverted and shared by some persons.
The governor who spoke at stakeholders’ forum organised by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, in collaboration with National Orientation Agency, noted that the implication of the development was that the state would now have N35 million deducted from its account at source every month.
He said: “I got a letter (last week) from the Federal Ministry of Finance saying they will now deduct N35 million every month from our account because the state government, a few years ago, took N2 billion for small and medium scale businesses.”
The governor said he contemplated asking the ministry to compile the names of individuals who siphoned the money so that they could be made to refund it, but noted, however, that he was glad at the proactive steps the EFCC had taken to recover the money.
AbdulRazaq said he would not tolerate diversion of public funds under his watch, recalling how corruption had led to the collapse of basic amenities in the hospitals, schools, and other sectors of the economy.
The governor lamented that the state had missed out on several development initiatives because of corruption, citing the example of the diversion of the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, funds, the resultant blacklisting of the state on account of that, and the effect on the state of basic education in Kwara State.
He added that the state had normalised relations with UBEC and would soon, on paying its counterpart funds, access money that would help reposition the sector.
Earlier, the EFCC Zonal Head in Kwara State, Isyaku Sharu, called for reorientation of the populace on the menace of corruption.
He said:”Can we overemphasise the role of our parents/guardians in these regards? I say no. In fact, a critical aspect of the need for value reorientation rests heavily on parental/guardian roles. The home, being the first point of contact of a child, is the factory house for building positive values in a child.”