By Chinonso Alozie
A forensic audit report on the financial records of Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, ISOPADEC, yesterday, disclosed that N12.3 billion spent by the commission cannot be accounted for between 2007 to 2020.
The audit report revealed that between 2007 to 2019, the commission only spent N647 million while between 2019 to 2020, within eight months, a whooping sum of N3.3 billion were expended with no trace of the projects for which the funds were used for.
The forensic audit report obtained by Vanguard in Owerri, was conducted by Corporate Development and Assets Management limited (CADAM-ANE) and was commissioned by the Imo State government.
It pointed out that in twelve years under the explained expenditure, the commission had 44 transactions while in eight months, it recorded 88 unverifiable transactions.
When Vanguard called the Imo state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, he confirmed the report and added that those involved in the execution of the unverifiable contracts would be made to give account.
Giving a breakdown of some of the findings of the audit report of the unaccounted N12.3 billion as comprising of N9.611 billion from statutory allocation, Miscellaneous inflows of N2.203 billion, N410.721 million deductions and N48.1 million gifts to staff.
“Out of a total sum of N3.5 billion of unexplained expenditure or on line transfers of ISOPADEC funds to sundry PAYEES from inception in 2007 to January 2020, N647 million was spent between 2007 and May 2019, while the balance of almost N3billion was spent between June 2019 and January 2020.”
It added: “While only 44 transactions under the sub head of unexplained expenditure and online transfers were carried out in 12 years (2007 to 2018), 88 of such illegal transactions were carried out in less than 8 months ( June 2019 to January 2020)
“The overall expenditure profile of ISOPADEC within the period under review witnessed an unprecedented high in seven months than in any single year in 12 years. In 2008, the commission spent N3.1 billion N1.7 billion in 2009, N1.4 billion in both 2012 and 2013 and N1billion in 2017.
“The rest of the years from 2007 to 2018 were less than a billion Naira . But between June 2019 to January 2020 alone, less than 8 months, the commission spent N3.3 billion.
“The report also showed that: huge sums of money were paid to contractors without following due process. In direct violation of extant laws, huge serial online transfers were also made to either unknown or unidentified recipients.
“Payments to contractors were made without any guaranteed APG or certificates earned and there was no project history, tender records or evidence of approvals from the board as well as lack of adherence to existing protocols on award of contract above N1 million.”