BY AUSTIN OGWUDA Asaba
DELTA State House of Assembly Committee on Public Accounts says it has uncovered alleged fraud in monumental proportion in all the existing 25 local government councils in the State without exception, running into billions of naira.
The Public Accounts Committee of the House led by Mr. Denis Omovie stated this while presenting its report on the Review of Report of the Auditor General Local Governments on the accounts of the 25 local government councils between 2009 to 2011.
It stated that, “Mr. Speaker, this committee was shocked that various sums of money such as Withholding Tax, union dues, retention fees, PAYE etc were placed on the deposit accounts of the local government councils on behalf of Federal Government, State Government, other institutional bodies and individuals.
“From 2009 to 2011, which is the period under review, these amounts were still outstanding and un-remitted to the beneficiaries, to the total sum of four billion, thirty six million, six hundred and seventy eight thousand, one hundred and thirty three naira, thirty two kobo (N4,036,678,133.32).
“Mr. Speaker, it is of interest to note that these deposit balances were supposed to have been remitted to appropriate government bodies/agencies/individuals as they were monies collected at source for various types of services rendered to the local councils.
However, while the books of the local government councils may be carrying credit balances reflecting these deposits”, the report went on, “there are no cash representation on same deposit as indeed the fund has been misappropriated by the local government councils.
The Committee further stated that “it is sad to note at this point that the setting up of various revenue committees have impacted negatively on the internal revenue generation efforts of the local government councils.
“These revenue committees have now become avenues through which funds meant for the local governments are being diverted into private pockets and accounts. The resultant effect is the decrease in internally generated revenue as indicated in table 6 above”, the report stated.