Desperate moves by the Delta State House of Assembly, Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Mr. Emeka Elekeokwuri, to sweep under the carpet, facts and figures of missing funds in the state parliament, have been uncovered.
Elekeokwuri, had in a statement credited to the committee issued on Tuesday, tried to poke holes on the one month long investigation conducted by The Union Nigeria, which exposed financial impropriety in the state parliament.
The statement released is alarmingly contradictory as the lawmaker on one hand described The Union Nigeria’s report as ‘fake’ and on the other hand, confirmed the report, that certain expenditures were queried which prompted the PAC to summon the clerk.
According to Elekeokwuri, in his statement, “on submission of the 2019 Audited Report, the Committee invited the Clerk of the House for a technical session with members of the Committee which had the Auditor-General (State) in attendance, stating that, “At the session, the Clerk in addition to her explanations submitted copies of audit certificates on expenditure items that were queried and reported in the 2019 Audit Report. It was on the basis of this, that the Auditor-General and the Committee cleared and discharged the issues raised. Therefore, the Clerk of the House has done her part and the Committee has recommended in its Report accordingly”.
Recall that the investigation, exposed details of expenditure by the Speaker, Mr Sheriff Oborevwori and the Clerk of the house of Assembly, Mrs Lyna Ochulor, to the tune of N392 million, which the Auditor General of Delta State, said could not be accounted for in his report.
As contained in the investigation, the trio of the Speaker, Clerk and the Auditor General traded words over who takes responsibility for the infraction.
Another False Claim
Meanwhile, The Union Nigeria finds a paragraph in the PAC statement again false, which points to lack of ‘due diligence’, a quality the committee exhausted several paragraphs in its statement to claim.
Elekeokwuri said, “The Public is respectfully referred to the report of Public Accounts Committee on “The Review of the Report of the Auditor-General (State) on the Accounts of the Delta State Government for the Year Ended 31st December, 2019” published on the Delta State website for further clarification”.
The State government website www.deltastate.gov.ng was accessed this morning at 8am to confirm the claims of the committee. The Delta State 2019 Audit Report remains as it were. The Queried Capital Vouchers contained in pages 89-91 are still the same.
The details of infractions bordering on no audit certificate and lack of receipt are still there.
Attempts At Cover Ups
During the investigation, when the first attempt was made to reach the Clerk of the house via text message and whatsapp, she immediately blocked our contact.
Maybe on second thoughts, she unblocked and responded by fixing a date for a chat which was held.
In between these times, The Union Nigeria can authoritatively state that the leadership of the house began a swift race to harmonise interests between the office of the Auditor General and the State Assembly.
While the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Emeka Elekeokwuri, in his failed attempts to explain away the glaring details of missing funds in the house, advised our reporters on journalism best practices, The Union Nigeria, can authoritatively state, that all parties in the story were reached and touched.