Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
The immediate past Speaker of the Kwara House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmad, has absolved the state’s 8th Assembly of an alleged N5 billion fraud levelled against the lawmakers before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The ex-Speaker made the clarification in a statement made available to newsmen Tuesday evening in Ilorin.
“The 8th Kwara State of House of Assembly or myself did not conspire with anyone to swindle N5 billion or any other amount belonging to the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service,” he stated.
“Chairman, House committee on Finance and Appropriation, Mashud Bakare, legally collected money from the revenue service,” adding that, “without prejudice to his culpability, he has since negotiated to the satisfaction of the commission to refund the amount involved, not because a crime was committed but because he wanted back his peace.
“Throughout the lifetime of the 8th Assembly, all committees had full independence regarding their operations and funds management in accordance with the Standing Rules of the House.
“Let me also place on record that as former public officials, my colleagues and I are ready anytime, anywhere and before any lawful person or authority to make ourselves available for scrutiny,” the statement said.
The former Speaker urged the Kwara State Government to discreetly conduct a forensic audit of the past administration in the state.
When contacted, EFCC Zonal Manager in Ilorin, Isiaku Sharu, said the Commission was not ready to join issues with any politician.
The Kwara State Government on Wednesday, in a swift reaction to former Speaker Ahmad over his comment that the government unfairly accused him and his colleagues of helping themselves to the till, issued the following statement:
“Our attention is drawn to a statement this evening by former Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Ali Ahmad, in which he, among other things, accused the state government of hunting the opposition or accusing members of the 8th Assembly of siphoning money,” Rafiu Ajakaye, spokesman for the Governor, said in the statement.
“A careful reading of our statement showed that we neither accused him nor the former House members of embezzlement. The EFCC did. And we are aware that the anti-graft agency, true to its position, has started recovering stolen public funds from PDP council members and House of Assembly members.
“Also, the Kwara public has been around long enough to distinguish between political witch-hunt, harassment of dissents, and a fair attempt to make officials fully accountable for their deeds through lawful means.
“Finally, we hereby accept the challenge Ahmad has thrown at this administration. We will conduct a thorough investigation into the activities of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) and make public our findings about what truly went down in the period under discourse.”