N75Billion: Governor Peter Obi’s Dishonest Accounting By Chibuzor Obiakor
Nigeria’s online media has been agog with reports that Governor Peter Obi’s administration has N75Billion Naira in savings for Anambra State. However, knowing what I know, and knowing expert’s way with numbers, Audits and Accounting Rules, I make bold here to say that no credible accountant will ascribe his name to these “terminal” numbers by Governor Peter Obi.
The Governor who announced this during a public presentation of his End of Tenure Report at the Women Development Centre, Awka claimed his state savings included the following:
N25Billion Naira investment for the state; expected bank balances as at march 14th 2014 would be N11.5 Billion; federal Government of Nigeria approved refund is N10 Billion; Foreign Currency Investment of (US$155m) N26 Billion; investment the State made in some projects being executed, some of which are N3.5 Billion in INTAFACT, N9B in Nigeria independent Power Projec; N4Billion in Orient Petroleum Resources PLC, N1B in Onitsha Hotel ; N1B in Agulu Lake Hotel; N0.9Billion in Awka Shopping Mall, N350M in Quoted investment portfolio, among others; about N620 Billion and N20 billion naira from Federal Allocation and interventions from Donor agencies and Development partners.
According to the Governor, through strategic planning, prudent and transparent management of resources, as well as reduction in the cost of governance, his administration achieved integrated and comprehensive development in all sectors without borrowing or owing anybody.
I repeat: Not even if an accountant that was drunk and in a dream would his name ever be found on these Obi’s documents as “endorsement”. These numbers are Governor Peter Obi’s version of the story. Before we all fall over ourselves, in adoration, let us await any independent audit/examination of these numbers.
Since when has it become the “Accepted Practice” to accept and use, wholeheartedly, the numbers, as supplied by the operator and executor of public or company finances, as the “True Reflection” of the state of the Finances of that entity? Where is the confidence of the impartiality supplied by “An Independent Audit”?
For example, and without prejudice to any such Independent Audit (if there will ever be one) does the reported N4 Billion invested in Orient Petroleum include the Equity inherent in the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) ceded to the company by Anambra State by a different administration than that of Governor Peter Obi?
Does the same N4 Billion include the initial pledges and subsequent cash contributions to the capitalization of Orient Petroleum made by other administrations other than that of Governor Peter Obi on behalf of Anambra State? Again, does the N10 Billion “Federal Approved Refunds” itemized in Governor Obi’s report include the initial N7.9 Billion on the books and received by the Governor Obi administration from the Federal Government for Federal expenses/work done in Anambra State by administrations other than that of Governor Peter Obi?
I am just asking, because the answers to these questions are not clear from Governor Obi’s report. I know that no Auditor would allow “Double Counting” of the same figures in any Financial Statement or Report.
One more area that need clarity: What are the total individual costs of the Agulu Lake Hotel, the Onitsha Hotel and the Awka Shopping Mall cited as part of Anambra State’s “Investments”? When these projects were “commissioned” by Governor Obi, Ndi Anambra were made to believe that these projects “belonged” to Ndi Anambra.
We were also told that “the money for these projects were saved and are available to ensure their completions”. Ndi Anambra were also told and promised these projects would be “finished before the end of Governor Obi’s tenure” especially when the money had already been “saved” for us.
Now in this “Terminal Report” we are being told that Anambra State “invested N1 Billion in the Agulu Lake Hotel; N1 Billion in Onitsha Hotel, and N0.9 Billion in the Awka Shopping Mall”. This means that these projects do not “belong” to Ndi Anambra, rather that Anambra State Government under Governor Peter Obi, are only “part owners” having invested the said amounts above.
If we forget the promises these would be finished before March 17, 2014, since projects of these types hardly keep to time lines, the bigger question is: what percentage of each of these projects belong to Ndi Anambra? Who are the other investors? What are their share percentages? Is anyone in the Government of Anambra State in financial making decision a major/principal owner of these projects? Was Anambra State’s contribution the foundation contributed (Paid-up) equity that guaranteed any loans procured for these projects? Did every investor in these projects pay their own share contributions, or did Ndi Anambra “somehow pay for any individual investor”?
These are not mundane questions, neither are they meant to be political, even if these sound so”. I have written several times, that my concern and questioning of state of affairs in our home State of Anambra is because “I am involved” to quote the late Ikemba.
In this instance, even as we salute Governor Peter Obi, on the eve of his departure, for his service to Ndi Anambra, we must demand accountability from every public servant. We cannot color-coat this even if we are enamored by the individual in question.
I know that no auditor whose qualification is worth the paper it is written on would accept wholeheartedly, the numbers bandied here in Governor Obi’s report without asking the same questions that I have asked here, and even more.
Before, I am taken to task from certain known quarters, I also asked the same of my boss, Senator Ngige as he prepared to contest the just concluded Anambra State Governorship election. I suggested that we produce a document of his “Stewardship at the Senate”. And because I am his Chief of Staff, I am familiar with what he did at the senate.
As I sensed a delay in that suggestion, I produced the document and asked him to sign it. He reviewed, corrected and signed off on it. The document was widely distributed in Anambra State. I can upload it here if needed or send it electronically to any interested party upon request.
In essence, I am not criticizing Governor Peter Obi, rather I am saluting him for his service, and at the same time asking that his service be reported in a transparent manner. That requires an “Independent Evaluated Report”.
Chibuzor O. Obiakor
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