The Kwara State Government has taken the immediate-past goveror, Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed to task on the alleged diversion of N1.5 billion Universal Basic Education Commission’s, UBEC, funds, insiting that his response has raised more questions on the sordid neglect of public schools under his administration.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, Rafiu Ajakaye in a statement, said the reaction of Ahmed that funds were not diverted or mismanaged hold no water in the face of revelations from UBEC and the decrepit state of public schools.
The government said the mismanagement is apparent with Kwara ranking 37th or the lowest on the list of UBEC Matching Grant Disbursement Performance as at April 30, 2019.
It said Ahmed’s claim that his government used the N1.5 billion to pay workers’ salary was untenable and fishy for an administration that received N22 billion Paris Club refund and additional N3.4 billion bailout funds that were meant to help states pay workers when federal allocation dropped.
“We regret to say that the last administration cannot be forgiven for the criminal neglect of schools because the consequences are there for all to see.
“As at April 30, Kwara had the worst rating under UBEC Matching Grant Disbursement Performance. This is a written record. This is the legacy of the former governor and the PDP administration in Kwara State.
The argument of the state government reads:
“The former governor claimed he was unaware that Kwara was blacklisted. This is false. The diversion of the funds and the decision of the agency to bar the state from further dealings until diverted sums were paid is nothing but official blacklisting of Kwara State.
“UBEC officials made it clear that they investigated Kwara’s claim that it used the funds to pay workers and found same to be false. The investigations, they said, showed that the money was diverted. UBEC’s position is further corroborated by the fact that at least 49 school projects captured under the fund were either abandoned or not started at all.
“It has been four long years (in 2015) since Kwara was blacklisted on account of the irresponsible diversion of the 2013 UBEC funds.
“Between 2015 and now, Kwara has received over N22 billion Paris Club refunds and additional N4.3 billion bailouts under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. Why didn’t they use part of that money to refund the N450 million diverted from UBEC funds?
“We note that the federal government actually used part of some states’ share of the Paris Club refund to settle their outstanding UBEC counterpart fund. Unfortunately, it could not do that for Kwara because it had curiously spent all its share of the money.
“If it is true that the last administration wanted to pay the N450 million diverted from UBEC funds that led to the blacklisting of the state, why did it wait for May 2019 after it had just lost an election?
“If the future of the children meant so much to the administration, why did it take so long to want to remedy an unfortunate situation that had occurred in 2015?”