A cantankerous fete of financial mischief may have overtaken the administration of the State government. This is as documentary evidence recently made available to 247ureports.com reveals that the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] governor of Kebbi State, Saidu Usman Dakingari may have laundered Kebbi State monies in excess of N718.5million – against an outcry of striking State workers demanding for the implementation of the minimum wage Act of N18,000p per month.
The Governor had turned his back to the striking workers – stating that the State can not afford to implement the minimum wage act. But available information indicate otherwise. Documentary evidence show that the governor of Kebbi State and his associate withdrew the sum of 718.5million from the State resources solely for the purposes of the governor’s April 2011 re-election campaign.
According to the information gathered, the State administration began its clean up of the State’s financial resources during the period leading up to the general elections of 2011 starting from December 2010.
Under the guise of election preparations, the State Governor Dakingari instructed the Chairman of the Kebbi State Chapter of the Association of Local Government of Nigeria [ALGON] to write the Honorable Commissioner for Local Government & Chieftaincy Affairs on behalf on the 21 Local Government Area [LGA] Sole Administrators to repeatedly access questionably large sums of money for election related items.
The letter was written with caption “Conduct of Primary Elections and Provision of Tight Security” referenced ALGON/182/VOL.III/2010 and dated December 29, 2010.
The letter indicated that he had been mandated by the 21 LGA Sole Administrators to forward a request for “release of funds to local governments in order to provide logistic support for the conduct of primary elections across the 21 LGAs of Kebbi State”. The primary elections were for the house of assembly scheduled for January 1, 2011, federal House of Representatives scheduled for January 5, 2011 and gubernatorial scheduled for January 9, 2011. The letter requested for N128,500,000 [N128.5million] to be released – and in a manner suggestive of connivance, approval was given by the Commissioner the next day, December 30, 2010. See letter below, 2 pages.
Less than three months following the initial letter to the Commissioner, the ALGON Chairman [Kebbi Chapter] took to his pen stating that he had the mandate of the 21 LGA Sole Administrators. He wrote concerning the visit of President [candidate] Goodluck Jonathan to Kebbi State. The letter was written on March 9, 2011 referenced ALGON/0725/Vol lll/2011 with caption “Visit of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Mr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to Kebbi State”. The letter specifically requested for money to be released from the LGA account being managed by the State Government for use to purchase “praise singers”. The amount of N180,000,000 [N180million] was requested. On the same day, the approval was given. See letter below, 2 pages
As the general elections drew nearer in the early days of April 2011, the Governor turned to the Special Services Department [SSD] of the Governor’s Office to request for additional amount of N410million for “security in the State for operation during the forthcoming April 2011 election”. The request was made in three letters signed by the Permanent Secretary of SSD, Tanko, Musa Magaji and Director Finance and Supply of SSD, Lawal Ibrahim Argungu
The first letter dated April 1, 2011 was addressed to The Manager, First Bank Plc, Birini Kebbi Branch, Kebbi State requesting “the release of fund from Account No 3572040000435” to the tune of N120million for the election to commence April 2, 2011. The two other letters dated April 4, 2011 made requests from the same account at the First Bank for funds to be released for use against the elections of April 2, 2011. The requests of N57million and N233million were made. All three request letters were presented and acknowledged by the bank.
Sources in Kebbi State point to the rapid withdrawal of funds [718.5million] between the months of December 2010 and April 2010 as financing of election related malpractices while more serious critics of the Kebbi State government point to a more sinister motive. They point to the Governor’s closeness to persons known for their ties to the Islamic militant group based in Borno State, Boko Haram. Through deductive extrapolations, they cite him as possibly sponsoring activities of the group.
However in talking to the Government of Kebbi State, 247ureports.com gathered through one of the signatories, Lawal Ibrahim Argungu [Director Finance & Supply] that the above documents were fabicated by the opposition. He also stated that agents the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] visited the government of Kebbi State following a petition by the opposition. He stated that the EFCC inspected the documents and deemed them fake.
Efforts to reach the EFCC regarding the authenticity of Ibrahim Argungu’s claim proved abortive – as the EFCC made it clear that it would not comment on the Kebbi State petition. Sources within the former governor of Kebbi’s camp [Aliero] opied that the EFCC and the governor of Kebbi State may have reached an agreed settlement that got the Kebbi State officials off the hook.