By Archibong Jeremiah, House Of Assembly Correspondent
The Cross River State House of Assembly Committee on Public Account has indicted the administration of a former Chairman and Vice Chairman of Etung LGA in Cross River State over official misconduct and financial misappropriation.
Hon. Okomah Inyang and Patrick Obi, former chairman and vice respectively, were indicted in the Committee’s report on the council’s audited accounts for the year ending December 31st, 2009 presented to the House in its last plenary by the Committee through its Chairman, Hon. Steven Ukpukpen.
According to the report of the Committee which examined the cash receipts and pattern of expenditure of Etung LGA in the year ended 31st December, 2009, there is substantial evidence of poor budget performance and unsubstantiated payments.
The committee subsequently recommended in their report that: “The Council management should exercise financial discipline in areas of expenditure. Council should initiate robust measures to improve Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
“The former Chairman and his Vice, Okomah Inyang and Patrick Obi respectively should within 60 days after acceptance of the committee report by the House, refund to the council treasury as follows; Okomah – Nine Hundred and Eight thousand, Three Hundred and Twelve naira only (N908,312) and Obi Eight Hundred and Ten thousand, Forty naira only (N810,040), illegally diverted as security and medical allowance.
The Committee further recommend that “The 100 hectares of land designated for the council’s cocoa farm estate should be properly acquired by having the entire area surveyed and title document obtained from the community. The remaining 44 hectares of land within the designated area should be cultivated with the outstanding balance of one million, seven hundred and seventy thousand naira only, thereafter, the entire 100 hectares of farm land be allocated to private organization/individual to manage.
“Mr. George Agbor, Supervisor for Health under the year being reviewed and Mrs. Nenka Agbor should jointly refund the sum of one million, seven hundred and fifty thousand naira only (N1,750,000), being amount collected for the purported accommodation, feeding and transportation allowance for officials of Ministry of Social Welfare who were on official duty to the council area to conduct the Conditional Cash Transfer exercise.
“The former Chairman under the year of review Okomah Inyang, Director of Finance Mr. Anthony Ngwu and the Procurement Officer, Agbor Ayang should jointly account for N2.5million naira only being the amount purportedly used for the procurement of chemicals and rebuilding of wind ravaged shades.
“The former Chairman of the Council, Okomah Inyang and Amba Amba Ntui (Secretary) should refund the sum of 1.5 million naira only being amount purportedly used to organize a solemn assembly and thanksgiving on the 8th of December, 2009 and which verifiable records couldn’t be tendered.
The former Chairman, Okomah Inyang and Ayang David (Chief Protocol Officer) should jointly refund to the Council treasury the sum of 2 million naira only purportedly paid to Hon. Pauline Ekuri as arrears of constituency allowance for ten months (January – October, 2009).
“Hon. Orok (Supervisor for Agriculture) should refund one hundred and fifty thousand naira only, purportedly paid to ad hoc staff in the nursery farm as allowance which couldn’t be substantiated with verifiable documents.
“Emmanuel Etta Ndun (Supervisor for Education) should refund the sum of five hundred thousand naira only claimed to have been spent for Children’s Day celebration, 2009 without evidence of expenditure.
“Anthony Ngwu (Director of Finance) and Bisong Oyong (Director UN-Known Interiors, No. 40 Ediba Street, Calabar) jointly should refund the sum of 1.5 million naira only for the furnishing of council hall, legislative offices and chambers which evidence of transactions could not be presented.
“Njor Takon to refund the sum of three hundred thousand naira only purportedly paid as ad hoc staffs allowance without verifiable records.
“The former Chairman Okomah Inyang, Anthony Ngwu (Director of Finance) and Esther Agbor should jointly refund the sum of 1.1million naira only, claimed to have been spent on a 5 days workshop/seminar on Effectiveness and Efficiency for staffs without auditable documentary evidence.
The Committee warned that, “Failing to comply, recovery should be effected through the Public Funds and Property Court”.
Addressing journalists in his office after the report was presented to the House; the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Steven Ukpukpen vowed that he will not allow any external influence in discharging his duties, anyone indicted will be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Other members of the Committee include Hon. Matthew Olory, Vice Chairman and member representing Akamkpa 1 State Constituency, Hon. Eteng Jonas Williams of Yakurr 2 State Constituency, Hon. Okon Ephraim of Calabar South 1 State Constituency, and Hon. Friday Okpechi of Obubra 1 State Constituency.
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