By Ekemini Simon & Abasifreke Effiong
The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has constituted an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate controversial spendings posted in the Akwa Ibom State Annual Report of the Accountant General with Audited Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December, 2019.
This action by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly comes on the heels of Investigative report where these reporters exposed extra-budgetary expenditures among other controversial spendings by the office of the Akwa Ibom State Governor and Secretary to the State Government.
After the report, the Akwa Ibom State Government on Wednesday November 18, 2020 circulated a new annual report and audited financial statements for the year 2019 arguing that figures in the previous annual report were incorrect. The State Government said that a “coding error” occured during the preparation of the report.
The new annual report and audited financial statements circulated to journalists in November by the State Government has however brought to the fore other controversial spendings.
Outstanding among them is an expenditure of N1.057 billion posted for constituency projects in 2019. State Lawmakers and Constituents drawn from the 26 Constituencies in the State had questioned the location of the said projects.
With the heightened tension over the controversies surrounding the 2019 annual report and audited financial statements, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey announced at Plenary on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 the constitution of an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the 2019 Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements of Akwa Ibom State Government.
The Speaker named the House Leader, Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan and Deputy House Leader, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Aniefiok Denis, as Chairman and Secretary of the Committee, respectively.
The Speaker also announced the Chairman, Appropriation and Finance Committee, Rt. Hon. Uduak Odudoh and the Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, Hon. (Dr.) Charity Ido, as members of the Ad-hoc Committee.
He said “The Committee is mandated to summon, where necessary, all relevant parties, agencies and persons, connecting and having anything to do with the said report”.
The Speaker directed the committee to conduct an in-depth investigation and report back to the House within one month.
Speaker Bassey noted “The committee is expected to conduct an in-depth, thorough, unbiased, dispassionate and conclusive investigation without leaving any stone unturned and report back to the House within one month”.
This report is one in a series on open contracting in Akwa Ibom State, supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the International Centre for Investigative Reporting and Policy Alert.