The National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) under the leadership of National Chairman Uche Secondus has been accused of misappropriation of funds since coming into office in December 2017.
The National Auditor of the party, Mai Adamu Mustapha, made the accusation in a memo circulated among members at a meeting of the NWC last Tuesday and seen on TheValley Newspaper.
Mr. Mustapha alleged that over N10 billion generated since Mr. Secondus became chairman is yet to be accounted for. He also laid allegations of inflated printing contracts.
According to him, the actual cost of the contract, awarded at a whopping sum of N630 million, should not be more than N150 million if a proper contract bidding process was followed.
The auditor said the inability of his department to operate as required by the constitution triggered his outcry, as the department lacks access to inputs that will enable it to discharge its duties.
“For whatever reasons, there is no access to all financial transactions (cash inflows and outflows) documents of the party like cashbooks, receipts, vouchers, registers cheques and bank statements etc. all of which are necessary input or pre-audit, due process, internal control, reconciliation as well as to draw up our Final Accounts and all these necessary inputs are not available to the Audit Department,” Mr. Mustapha said.
While emphasising the importance of interaction and information flow between the audit department and all arms of the party, Mr. Mustapha claimed that that has not been the case in the affairs of the party.
He maintained that “any infractions to financial and auditing practice will be a handy tool to cause dire legal and political embarrassment” from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“It is now three years plus, through the tenure of this NWC that there was no one single financial transaction that passed through the Audit from the inception of this NWC to date, despite the fact that the party has been undertaking financial transactions running into billions.”
While citing the activities of the NWC from 2017 to date, the auditor highlighted that “Forms were contracted, printed, and sold through consultants, series of procurements and services were transacted and paid. Congress and other activities were conducted and huge expenditures incurred.”
He stated that “Proxy accounts for the sales of forms is illegal and unconstitutional (Section 55(1-3). The details of the operation of this proxy account was not known to the audit department and members of the NWC. The interest cost of 3% on this account has to be explained.”
The auditor noted that “From the incept of this NWC to date over N10 billion was generated and unaccounted for” while maintaining that “Non-competitive contract was assigned to print congress documents at the costs of N630 million. While it is believed that the actual cost is much less than N150 million if competitively decided by the NWC.”
Speaking further, Mr. Mustapha recounted that a loan of “N500 million was obtained without approval and paid with interest.”
Also, he alleged that “sale of last congress forms and membership cards which are in billions were not accounted for.”
While reiterating that all the activities held without the consent of the audit department, Mr. Mustapha said “no fixed assets register maintained that will keep records of all the PDP assets e.g. land and building, vehicles, generators, furniture, etc.”
“All the above issues were highlighted and copies of my 2017/2018 management reports were issued to the relevant members of the management, voluntarily and nothing has changed,” he said.
He had also sought redress, just as he said that the “audit department is in an uncomfortable position which is unhealthy for efficient, effective, and smooth management of the parry’.”
Mr. Mustapha, however, called a press conference on Thursday to deny accusations against Mr. Secondus. He claimed that the memo was misinterpreted.
“To say the least, I am shocked that routine memos can be so mischievously misrepresented in the media ostensibly to achieve a sinister purpose against our party,” he said.
“For the avoidance of doubt, all the issues raised in the memos were exhaustively deliberated in the NWC meeting.
“The deliberation was conclusive because, on all the items raised, approvals were sought and granted by both the NWC and the National Executive Committee (NEC) of our great party.
“I want to state clearly, that I did not make any allegations of any form of financial impropriety against the National Chairman, neither did I make an allegation of any form of misdemeanour against members of the NWC,” he said.
The PDP spokesperson Kola Ologbondiyan told Peoples Gazette that “the party does not believe that there is any issue.”