Abia Governor’s Office spends N2.2bn on welfare, N1.4bn on vehicles in a year – Report

A report by The ICIR and The Mail has exposed how Abia State Government, headed by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, spent N1.4 billion on vehicles in the Government House and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) instead of N231 million appropriated in the revised budget.

The report also revealed illegal loan procurement above N11 billion by Abia State Government.

The report detailed the questionable extra-budgetary expenditures by the offices of the governor, deputy governor, ministries of environment and solid minerals and the state’s environmental protection agency.

Okezie Ikpeazu
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu

The total extra spending by these four offices exceeded N14 billion.

An analysis of the 2020 Report of Accountant General with Financial Statements of the Abia State Government revealed that the Governor’s Office purchased an unspecified number and undisclosed brands of vehicles for Government House and MDAs for N1.4 billion in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.


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In the breakdown tagged ‘Purchase of motor vehicles for Government House and MDAs,’ the report showed that N1.2 billion was spent on the item instead of N231 million appropriated in the revised budget.

Thus, the Governor’s Office spent extra N969 million on vehicles without appropriation or approval by the state legislature.

The report also detailed curious extra-budgetary spending in the Governor’s Office for ‘welfare packages,’ where a whooping N2.2 billion was spent against N1.5 billion budgeted.

The N2.2bn retired as the governor’s welfare package is about the total of two months internally generated revenue (IGR) in the state.

According to the Abia State accountant general’s report, the state generated only N15.9 billon internal revenue in 2020. [Though, the state IGR, according to NBS, is N14.4 billion]

The spending, according to the report, left a variance of N700 million from what was budgeted.




     

     

    The N700 million extra spent on the governor’s welfare is seven times higher than the total capital expenditure of three ministries combined – Ministry of Women Affairs; Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development; and Ministry of Youth Development.

    It further exposed how in 2020, the Women Affairs and Social Development Ministry had a capital release of N13 million; Small and Medium Enterprises Development Ministry got N9.8 million while the capital release for Youth Development Ministry stood at N66 million, totalling N88.8 million.

    Checks into the state’s financial statements over the years revealed a trend of billions of naira retired through this subhead.

    In 2019, it was further reported that the state spent above what was approved on this same item (governor’s welfare). About N3.5 billion was spent instead of the N1.1 billion approved. A year before that (2018), N3.2 billion was spent.

    Blessing Otoibhi is a Multimedia Journalist and Anchor host for the News in 60 seconds at The International Center For Investigative Reporting. You can shoot her a mail via [email protected] or connect on Twitter @B_otoibhi

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