The Akwa Ibom State Government has denied conflicting figures said to be monies spent on various subheads in 2019.
Briefing newsmen in Uyo on Wednesday, government officials comprising of the Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Sea Port, Mr. Akan Okon; Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Linus Nkan and the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Barr. Ini Ememobong, described the reports as false and misleading.
Mr. Okon said government spending was borne out of fullproof financial planning and evaluation.
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He maintained that the Governor Udom Emmanuel administration operates on a sound economic template anchored on transparency and accountability.
Okon said the “authors of the erroneous reports” depended on an erroneous version of the state Accountant General’s Audit Report.
Reading excerpts from the 2019 Audited Financial Statement of the state government which was later presented to journalists, the commissioner revealed that the erroneous version of the audit report was long withdrawn from circulation and replaced with the corrected version.
“Every money that was spent in that financial year was in line with the provisions of the budget. There was no extra budgetary expenditure outside what was originally approved by the House of Assembly,” he added.
On his part, Finance Commissioner, Mr. Nkan, allayed fears that Akwa Ibom funds are recklessly spent, saying “state funds and resources are properly managed.”
Barr. Ememobong, Commissioner for Information & Strategy, said the reports contravene the ethical rule of thorough investigation and fair hearing.
He noted that “human error, data were wrongly entered and upon discovery, the Accountant General sought to withdraw the report for due corrections.”
“There was a Prado expenditure, but it was erroneously imputed and the Accountant General on 2nd September sent a memo, acknowledging a coding error and demanded a retrieval of the old report, for proper imputing according to IPSAS protocol,” he explained.
Comrade Amos Etuk, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the state government has done well to present its side of the story, and promised that members of his union will give wide publicity to the report.
The official 2019 Audit Report shows the actual sum spent on government house as Twenty two billion, six hundred and nine million, eight hundred and ninety eight thousand naira (N22,609,898,000.00), while Thirty million naira (N30,000,000) was spent by the Akwa Ibom Hotels and Tourism Board, contrary to conflicting sums making the rounds in the media space.