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Sokoto govt denies alleged diversion of N189bn

The Sokoto State Government has denied diverting N189bn following reports published by some online news media.

In a press release signed by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, Muhammad Bello, the state government described the reports as “false in all material particulars” and advised that they should be “completely disregarded.”

The statement read in part: “Our attention has been drawn to reckless and provoking reports by some online news media about alleged diversion of N189 Billion by the Sokoto State Government. The reports cited a so-called EFCC interim report on Sokoto State. These media reports are false in all material particulars and should be completely disregarded.”

The state government said that the online news media reports were “efforts by political hacks” targeted at tainting the reputation of the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who also is an aspirant for the position of the Nigerian President in the 2023 general election.

“We alert the public that these media reports are products of orchestrated efforts by political hacks to taint the reputation of Governor Aminu Tambuwal, who is a frontline aspirant for 2023 PDP Presidential ticket. The Government of Sokoto State has established deserved reputation as the champion of budget transparency, fiscal responsibility, and open governance. We have subscribed to the Open Government Partnership.

“It is noteworthy that in December 2020, the World Bank rated Sokoto State as number one state in Nigeria in fiscal transparency as a recognition of Governor Tambuwal’s unflinching commitment to the implementation of the States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability and for efforts to champion budgetary transparency in Nigeria. For this commitment, Sokoto State has received up to $34.1million as special grant from the World Bank.

“Governor Tambuwal in pursuit of fiscal responsibility and anticorruption in management of public finance in Sokoto State has created the Sokoto State Bureau of Public Procurement and Private Partnership and Fiscal Responsibility Commission to review and investigate all public expenditure. The agencies are independent agencies established by law.

“To further strengthen vertical and horizontal agencies of accountability in the state, Governor Tambuwal has signed law granting the Offices of Auditor General in the state and local government councils in Sokoto State operational independence to investigate all records of public expenditure in Sokoto State,” the statement read.

The statement further stated that it invited anyone who wished to investigate the financial of the state to feel free to request the report of the Sokoto State Bureau of Public Procurement and Private Partnership on all public expenditures in Sokoto State.

It also stated that the state government was “ready with all relevant documents to challenge any report from the EFCC or any other anticorruption body on the public finances of Sokoto State.”

It added that “the public (should) disregard these malicious attacks on Governor Tambuwal and desperate efforts to derail the Tambuwal mission to offer Nigeria an open and transformative governance.”

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