Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
The Ilorin zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has uncovered how 24 former members of the Kwara State House of Assembly, the immediate past Commissioner for Finance, Ademola Banu, and some companies allegedly shared about N5billion belonging to Kwara State between 2015 and 2019.
The commission’s investigation revealed that some cabinet members of former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed allegedly siphoned revenues generated by the state’s tax agency, the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service.
EFCC sources said officials of the tax authority were forced to make monthly payments to the lawmakers “as a trade-off to secure easy approval of their appropriations and other requests.”
Beneficiaries of the monies include all former members of the Kwara State House of Assembly including the speaker, Dr Ali Ahmad; former Commissioner for Finance, Ademola Banu; ex-Kwara State Accountant-General, Ishola Sulyman, Permanent Secretaries and others.
A Kwara State Internal Revenue Service official while being interrogated by the EFCC operatives said, “The House of Assembly members were collecting N4million monthly for public relations.
“The former Kwara State Commissioner for Finance, Ademola Banu was collecting N5m every month without working for it; in fact, Mr Banu collects it in cash, I do take it to his house, if we don’t give him, he won’t approve anything we take to him.”
On his part, Bakare, a former Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation and Finance said “they (KSIRS officials) do send the money, N4m monthly into the account of my personal assistant who is presently being detained by the EFCC.
“He will then withdraw the money and give to me, I will now hand it over to the Speaker, Dr Ali Ahmad who will share it to all the honourable members.”
He further stated that “Some members do collect the money in cash while some will insist that the money should be transferred into their accounts.”
It was further discovered that a Personal Assistant to ex-governor Ahmed, Rafiu Olasile, received N10m cash from one of the aides to the ex-Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation and Finance.
The immediate past Chairman of the KSIRS, Prof Muritala Awodu, a former member of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Moshood Bakare and some staff of the KSIRS are currently being quizzed by the EFCC operatives over the graft.