Kaduna sanctions two officials over alleged N9.7m theft
Besides, the affected officials were suspended having pleaded guilty of committing the alleged fraud, while some powerful forces in government were also said to be mounting pressure on the board of the company to recall them and be allowed to refund the money.
It was gathered that the two officials allegedly connived together with some officials of Finbank Plc, Yakubu Gowon Way branch, Kaduna to perpetrate the act within the month of July 1, 2009 and August 10, 2009, the period when the new managing director of the company, Mr. Jofas F. Bako officially assumed office, on June 29, 2009.
The fraud, it was further learnt was discovered by the company’s internal auditors who alerted the managing director of the company director.
Specifically, in a memo by the audit department of the company, addressed to the managing director and dated August 30, 2009, tagged "Financial gross misconduct/ illegal withdrawal of funds by the Executive Director, Finance and Administration (EDFA), Alhaji Adamu Salisu Babaji and the Assistant General Manager Finance and Account (AGMFA), Alhaji Mamuda Usman Zubairu, the auditors pointed out that in the cause of their normal routine checks, it was discovered that N7.4 million was illegally withdrawn by the two management staff of KSDPC.
The memo, which was signed by the senior audit manager, Mr. Emmanuel Makuryetinim, reads in part: "It is imperative that your kind and immediate attention be drawn to the above subject matter. In the cause of our normal routine checks, we discovered that the total sum of N7.4 million has been illegally withdrawn.
"Further inquest revealed that the said sum was withdrawn without due approval from neither the managing director/chief executive nor any supporting document as prescribed by the financial regulations of the organization.
"The amount in question was withdrawn within the month of July 1, 2009 and August 10, 2009 (being the period of the new managing director who officially took over on June 29, 2009)".
The memo further explained: "Our findings also revealed that this fraudulent act were perpetrated primarily by two officers namely, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration (EDFA) in the person of Alhaji Adamu Salisu Babaji and the Assistant General Manager Finance and Account (AGMFA) in the person of Alhaji Mamuda Usman Zubairu.
"For the purpose of clarity and easy articulation of this capsulated report, signatures to our accounts are as follows. – 1, the managing Director as A, 2, the AGMFA as B, and the EDFA as C alternate."
The two officers were said to have connived among themselves with the aids of some officials of the FinBank to withdraw the money at various times within, amounting to the said amount".
However, the company management was said to have constituted a committee, which included one of the culprits, Alhaji Mamuda Usman Zubairu to investigate the fraud where it was further discovered that N9, 689, 530.13 was stolen.
In an official query signed by the Managing Director and Chief Executive of the company, Mr. Bako, with Ref.No. KSDPC/C/14/1/61 dated 9th September 2009, tagged "Illegal withdrawals/financial gross misconduct and embezzlement," the company ordered the officers to explain why they should not be punished for their illegal action.
"I write to seek for explanation on the above subject matter as perpetrated by you and Alhaji Adamu Salisu Babaji, Executive Director (Finance and Administration) through connivance and illegal withdrawal of the sum of money up to the tune of N9, 689, 530, 13 in the Company’s Finbank Plc, Yakubu Gowon Way, Kaduna Branch Account number 238430000023601 between the period of 22nd June, 2009 and 13 August 2009.
"I have records of all approvals I have given and I know that I have never directly or indirectly authorised such withdrawals and such, I regard such financial contravention of the state financial instruction to be criminal and a clear sabotage of my administration, therefore, I seek explanation considering the seriousness and the financial criminality of these offences. I would want you to explained within 24 hours why punitive measures would not be meted on you for your incessant act of financial gross misconduct and embezzlement which clearly shows how you defrauded the company to the tune of N9, 689, 530.13.You are expected to show course why administrative and legal action should not be taken against you for this act as perpetrated by you" the query read.
In his reaction to the query, dated September 11, 2009, Alhaji Adamu Salihu Babaji appealed to the managing director to temper justice with mercy and allow the refund of the amount agreed, adding; "I am sorry for whatever this must have caused. I am sorry for not reply within 24 hours".
Also, in another response to the query dated September 10, 2009, Zubairu argued that the said illegal amount withdrawn could not be up to the N9, 689, 530.13 , insisting that , "the said illegal amount withdrawn could not be up to the N9, 689, 530.13. as the amount involved as quoted in the query letter include salary and other deductions, payments for the month of July 2009.
"However, I am ready to make refund of whatever amount that would be arrived at by the investigation assigned to us being illegal withdrawals to avoid any punitive measures against me. I will make necessary refunds. I beg you in the name of God to render justice with mercy not to take any administrative or legal action against me. … ".
Besides, in a letter informing the Kaduna State commissioner of works about the alleged fraud, the KSDPC boss, Bako regretted that some people were trying to sabotage the efforts of the Governor Namadi Sambo at providing mass housing for the people.
The letter dated September 15, 2009, with Ref NO. KSDPC/c/336/vol.1/6 signed by Bako himself reads: "You may wish to recall that I was appointed the managing director/ chief executive officer of the Kaduna State Development and Property Company Limited (KSDPC) on the 29th June, 2009.
"I immediately assumed office and was inaugurated with the other board members, by you on the 3rd July 2009. I formally took over the affairs of the company on the 14th of July 2009 from my predecessor. I signed the documents for the change of signature on the 29th July 2009 and finally signed my first cheques to pay salaries on the 4th of August 2009.
"To my greatest dismay, when I had to check the operational account of the company with Finbank Plc, Yakubu Gowon Way, Kaduna branch, account No. 238430000023601 to see if contractors that indicated interest in the laudable mass housing project of the state had paid in mandatory registration fee of N50,000 before I pre-qualify them.
" I discovered that millions of naira have been illegally withdrawn and misappropriated by some management staff of the company to the tune of N9, 689, 530.13. This illegally withdrawals and misappropriation, to say the least is fraudulent and should be treated as such. This amount included such withdrawals that were made in June 2009 during the period of transition from the former managing director, Alhaji Suleiman Sambo when he was appointed permanent secretary in May 2009.
He continued: "Sir, I suspected that the perpetrators of this act are in the persons of Alhaji Adamu Salisu Babaji executive director finance and administration who is supposed to be a dormant signatory of the company’s account and Alhaji Mamuda Usman Zubairu, Assistant general manager Finance and Account who is the second signatory to the account and only next to that of the managing director…..
"It is in this respect of the above ugly development that I write to respectfully informed you accordingly on the unfolding events in the Kaduna State Development and Property Company Limited and the administrative steps that I have taken thus far…The two officials concerned have since been suspended from office by the board of the company, but it was learnt that some power individuals are mounting pressure on the board members of the company to recall them so that they can only refund the money.
Meanwhile, sources at KSDPC said that the company has officially protested to the Finbank Plc on why its officials should honour the payment of the amount involved in the fraud, while asking the bank to make refund.
From Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna