The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on relevant anti-corruption agencies in the country to, intervene by investigating the Surveyor General of the Federation saga, indicted by relevant audit reports, which indicated theft of public assets, contracts frauds, etc., running into over N1.4bn (One Billion, Four Hundred Million Naira).
In a release issued by CACOL’s Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, on behalf of the Centre’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “The audit report of a committee that was set up to probe the activities of the Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation (OSGF) Ebisintei Awudu, came out with its final report just recently, where it detailed observed contract frauds, as well as disregard for due process and accountability standards by the Surveyor General. Between January and June 2018, according to the audit inspection report on the surveyor-general’s office, questions of fraud raised by the auditor-general’s office involved a sum of N1.4 billion, including N725.8 million reported to have been paid to three companies within one week without any evidence of service or contract rendered. The three companies included Altruinco services Ltd., F.A Kassim Survey Associates Ltd., and M. Yahaya and Associates. As presented in the table below, only Altruinco was paid on March 22, 2018, F.A Kassim was paid in three transactions in one day, March 27, 2018, the same day M. Yahaya was paid in two different transactions, according to the report delivered in November 2018.”
“The reports also stated, ‘After a careful examination of all the payment vouchers for the period that were presented for audit inspection, it was observed that the above-listed payments were made without raising any payment vouchers in violation of FR 601 which stipulated that ‘…under no circumstance shall a cheque be raised or cash paid for services of which a voucher has not been raised.’
“It was also observed, after careful examination of all contract files, contract award letters and other procurement records…, the (office of the surveyor-general) made the payments to the contractors without awarding any contract, LPO or job order to them. As a result, the contractors were paid for work/services not rendered to the office in violation of FR 708 which stipulates that ‘on no account should payment be made for services not yet performed or for goods not yet supplied. Then, the report also indicated that the payments were made in breach of FR 412 as no ‘certificate of completion’ was raised for any work done and that nowhere in the internal audit report of the office for the month of March 2018 were the payments mentioned. The report then recommended to the Accountant-General of the Federation to “immediately convey a Board of Enquiry” to investigate “loss of public funds” in accordance with FR 2531.’
“Furthermore, the report also placed a duty on the accountant-general to refer the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for proper investigation and possible prosecution. But till this very moment, this is yet to be done while the indicted Surveyor General of the Federation claims he is only being persecuted by his detractors.’
The CACOL Boss added, “Another separate report on vehicle inspection for the period of January and December 2018 revealed the “possible theft” of at least three vehicles, two of which were traced to Mr Awudu himself. The two vehicles, Toyota Hilux (4×4) double cabin, were acquired for separate projects in Borno State and Ogun State. The contractors, M Yahaya and Quest Consolidated were reported to have returned the vehicles upon completion of the projects. Toyota Hilux (4×4) double cabin
However, according to the report, “during the physical inspection of all the vehicles belonging to the office, these particular vehicles were not presented for inspection. Further, enquiry from the transport unit revealed that the whereabouts of the vehicles are currently unknown. A review of available store records revealed that the vehicles were last issued to the surveyor-general of the federation.”
“Further investigations by ‘PREMIUM TIMES’, an online medium that first broke the story revealed that two different officials of the OSG confirmed that the vehicles were indeed “stolen” by Mr Awudu. ‘It was so brazen; we all saw the brand new vehicles when they were brought. All of a sudden, we were told he took them to Bayelsa. Nobody ever saw them again,’ one official said asking not to be named for fear of victimization.
“As much as our organization, CACOL would prefer that the Muhammadu Buhari’s government should use his second and last term to put the country on a sound economic footing and social cohesion with a reduction in unemployment and poverty rating of the country, we aver that the issues of official sleaze by any government officials and institutions are too weighty to be dragged under the carpet and such impunity as reportedly displayed in the manner of theft and others, have a collateral effect of undermining performance and nation-building. This is why we insist that EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) and other relevant anti-graft agencies, should immediately investigate and set up machinery in motion for the prosecution and retrieval of all that has been stolen and diverted (if found guilty) by the Surveyor General and his accomplices, to serve as a deterrent.” The statement said.