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N1.057bn constituency projects fund: AKHA sets up committee, summons Accountant General

N1.057bn constituency projects fund: AKHA sets up committee, summons Accountant General

…as pressure mounts on Governor to sack Pastor Andrew-Essien 

The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate reports that N1.057bn was released to the 26 members of the House for constituency projects.

Heading the committee is 3rd term member and Leader of the House, Rt. Hon. Udo Kierian Akpan. As earlier published on TheMail Newspaper last week, the new “authentic” financial audit report of the Akwa Ibom State Government indicates that a total sum of N1.057bn was released to the 26 members of the House for constituency projects.

Some of the House Members of the 6th and 7th Assemblies told our correspondent that no such money was released to them in the 2019 or 2020.

The House in a bid to get to root of the matter has set up a committee to look into it and resolve the issue. According to insiders in the House, the committee does not intend embarrassing the system but to strike a balance and resolve the impasse.

“All we (the members) are interested in is getting what is due us. This situation is capable of embarrassing the system. We can’t claim that we have received money when we have not. If you agree that such money was released for constituency projects, we will be under pressure to show our constituents the projects. Already, our constituents and communities are on our necks. Members of the 7th Assembly have not been able to embark on constituency projects or empower their constituents. On the other hand, we cannot also totally deny collecting the money because we are all part of the government. We don’t want to be on the bad books of the governor, so we have to find a way to find a middle ground. So, as you can see, we are at crossroads”, said a member of the House.

TheMail learnt on good authority that the Accountant General was summoned to the House last week to meet with Udo Kierian Akpan and other members of the committee. He is to appear again before the committee as they seek to find solution to the problem created by the new audit report.

It could be recalled that in the former 2019 audit report which is said to be erroneous by government officials, no money was listed as having being released for constituency projects. However, the new report released two weeks ago indicates that over a billion Naira was released in the 2019 fiscal year for the execution of constituency projects by the entire members of the AKHA.

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Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on Governor Udom Emmanuel to “sacrifice” the Accountant General, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien over the audit report controversy.

Photo shows Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Accountant General of the state. Government sources say Governor Emmanuel has been under intense pressure to make the AG the fall guy

Top Government House sources told our correspondent in confidence that several forces have been pressuring the state’s chief executive to make the AG the fall guy.

“The governor has been under pressure to do away with the AG. They want him to sacrifice the AG over the audit controversy. The ONNA factor, amongst several other factors is what is keeping the AG on seat. He would have been fired since, but if the pressure demanding his head keeps mounting on the governor, the AG might be sacked. The situation has given several loopholes for anti-graft agencies to swoop in on the government now, during the 2023 election or immediately after the life-span of this administration”, said one of our sources.

“Members have nominated the projects (schools) in their constituencies for renovation and construction. It is obvious the executive is ensuring due process. Once same is completed, those projects will be executed for the benefit of our constituents. It is a process, it is ongoing”, spokesman of the House, Rt. Hon. (Barr) Aniefiok Dennis reacting when contacted by TheMail correspondent.

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