By Joe Adedeji, Ilorin
But for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) that froze the accounts of government on the eve of his inauguration, he would have inherited an empty treasury, Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has said.
The governor was speaking at the International Anti Corruption Day Rally Organized by the EFCC Ilorin Zonal Office in the State capital on yesterday.
The governor recalled that only the N4.8bn tax refund by the Federal Government which EFCC seized on the eve of his inauguration was his saving grace, inherited from the administration of Ex-Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.
“That N4.8bn is in our cash reserve. We have not touched it. It will be used to balance the budget for next year. It will be invested in our schools, road infrastructure, among others,” AbdulRazaq said.
“We thank the Ilorin Zonal Office of EFCC for the recoveries they’ve made already. If not, when we came to power, there would have been nothing to inherit. The past government told us that they left a debt of N30bn but so far we are looking at the debt of almost N100bn.
“We don’t see this rally as that of the law enforcement agency (alone). It is a march for everybody and the important message for all of us is, if we don’t kill corruption, it will kill all of us”, the governor strongly asserted.
According to him, corruption is detrimental to the socio-economic development of any society because it reduces government’s capacity to deliver on its campaign promises.
“Corruption is killing us in our schools and hospitals; it hinders infrastructural development. It is therefore important that we work hand in hand with the anti-corruption agencies and be part of the processes to develop our society,” he said.
He thanked the EFCC for the recent recovery of N111m from some past government officials.
To the governor, whatever recoveries made from the ongoing probe of the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KW-IRS) would be invested to secure the future of Kwarans, especially through the upcoming Social Investment Programme.
AbdulRazaq urged the people of the State to continue to support the anti-corruption drive of the Muhammadu Buhari administration as part of the overall strategies to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Head of the Ilorin EFCC, Isyaku Sharu said at the rally that the body had recovered over 10 properties and cash worth over N3.6bn from “treasury looters” in Kwara State since February when it began operations in the state.
“These properties include two in Ikoyi, one in Lekki and the recent one is over one billion naira worth houses in GRA, Ilorin,” according to Sharu. (the houses suspected to belong to a strong politician who was at a time the head of the national legislature.
Sharu said the rally was an advocacy to further create awareness for the world to unite against corruption.