•Governor Ben Ayade
A Civil Society Organisation, Network Against Corruption and Human Trafficking (NACAT) has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over the alleged mismanagement of funds by Cross River State governor, Ben Ayade.
Led by its Executive Director of Investigation, Samson Tega, and its operational manager, Stanley Ugabe, the group at a press conference in Abuja yesterday, said Ayade had reigned supreme in his eight years as governor.
Tega, noting that the organisation embarked on a comprehensive audit of the Cross River State Government’s Account between 2015-2020, accused the Ayade of mismanaging the funds meant for the development of the state to the tune of N500 billion.
When contacted, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Christian Ita, dismissed the claims, reports The Guardian.
He queried: “Please before I respond, kindly do us a favour, and calculate how much allocations have come to the state in 8 years. They’re published by the federal government. The state hasn’t earned that kind of money in 8 years, so from where did he see 500b to steal?”
Tega, however, alleged that numerous suspicious transfers of funds were made by cronies of the governor in the period under review.
He, therefore, called on the “EFCC to stay on alert to quickly invite him (Ayade) to give clarification on these blatant irregularities”
The organisation said: “In a matter of weeks, on May 29, 2023, exactly, Prof Ben Ayade will take a bow out of office and the good people of Cross River will have renewed hope. But one thing that cannot be taken away is the fact that these eight years of Ayade’s rule, has set back the development of the state by 20 years.
“It is on this note that we are calling on the EFCC) to be on alert to quickly invite him to give clarification on these blatant irregularities bothering on wanton looting of the Cross River State’s Treasury to the tune of over N500, 000, 000, 000(Five Hundred Billion Naira).
“The coalition of civil societies led by the Network Against Corruption and Trafficking(NACAT), embarked on a comprehensive audit of the Cross River State Government’s Account between 2015-2020.
“The NACAT, through this comprehensive audit, discovered financial infractions and irregularities ranging from circumvention of procurement processes, suspicious payments of monies, possible money laundering, to award of contracts to non-existent Shell Companies.
“These financial manipulations have cost the good people of Cross River State, money amounting to over 500 billion Naira, under the watch of Prof Ben Ayade.
“Recall, that Treasury Circular No. TRY/ A2&B2/ 2009/ OAGF/ CAD026/V OF 24th March 2009 states that “All procurement of stores and service
exceeding N200,000.00 shall be made only through the award of contract”.
“Similarly, Treasury Circular Ref. No. TRY/A2&A3/2013 OAGF/CAD/026/V.1/188 OF 9th April 2013 emphasized that “cash advance in excess of N200,000.00 should not be granted to any officer for procurement of goods and services but the procurement should be given out as a contract”.
“Financial Regulation 603 which states “All vouchers shall contain full particulars of each service such as dates, numbers, quantities, distances and rates….and will invariably be supported by relevant documents such as LPOs, invoices, special letters of authority, timesheets, rates etc.”
While listing some of the suspicious transactions, Tega however, accused the governor of ignoring financial laws and regulations in the process of awarding contracts.