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Nigeria; PDP in disarray as fraud allegations rock Nigeria’s main opposition party

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Nigeria’s leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been thrown into disarray following a memo released by the party’s audit department accusing its leadership of financial impropriety.

In the memo leaked late Wednesday, the department revealed how the Uche Secondus-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party mismanaged billions of naira generated in the last three years.

In his account of the mismanagement, contained in the memo sent to party leaders, the National Auditor, Adamu Mustapha, said his department was denied access to all the party’s financial transactions since 2017.

“The purpose of this alarm is to bring to the notice of this NWC the inability of the Audit Department to perform its functions as enshrined by the constitution and the extant laws, to illustrate as example, the Audit Department was incapacitated by lack of access to the necessary inputs that will enable it to discharge its duties.

“For whatever reasons, there is no access to all financial transactions (cash inflows and outflows) documents of the party like cashbooks, receipts. vouchers, registers cheques and bank statements etc, all of which are necessary input or pre-audit, due process, internal control, reconciliation as well as to draw up our Final Accounts, and all these necessary inputs are not available to the Audit Department.

“In order for the Audit to function there should be constant interaction and information flow between the Audit Department and all the arms of the party, unfortunately this has not been the practice,” he alleged in a memo.

To check undue monetisation of the election process, the Electoral Act mandates political parties to submit their financial reports to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at specified intervals, a mandate many political parties have violated on different occasions.

Mr Mustapha highlighted the cause of the violation in the leaked memo.

The national auditor was called by the party to address journalists on Thursday to recant the financial issues he raised in the memo.

Rather than outright retract, he confirmed the authenticity of the memo but added that “all issues raised in the memo have been enumerated in the NWC meeting.”

In a separate interview on Friday, the party’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbodiyan, said that all issues raised by the national auditor in the memo have been addressed by both the PDP NWC and NEC.

“What he said clearly and also in a statement he read on the issues that he raised is that approvals are sought and granted by both the National Working Committee (NWC) and the National Executive Council of the party. He stated that clearly in meetings. So, I don’t know what the issues are,” Mr Ologbondiyan said.

“If a man brought out a memo saying something and came out issuing another statement countering what he earlier said, am I going to be held accountable for it?

“Let me tell you the fact, he brought a memo to the National Working Committee and the issues were taken into consideration one after the other at the meeting. He himself, Adamu, said approvals were sought.

“The media misrepresented us. He didn’t make any allegations of financial impropriety against the chairman or any member of the NWC.”

Against Mr Ologbodiyan’s claim, Mr Mustapha, in the controversial memo, said he raised the predicaments of the audit department several times in various NWC meetings, but to no avail.

Chief among the issues raised were the N500 million taken by the party without approval and the unaccounted billions of naira made from sale of forms for the party’s last congress and membership registration.

“From the inception of this NWC to date over NI0 billion was generated and unaccounted for.

“Non-competitive contract was assigned to print congress documents at the cost of N630 million. While it is believed that the actual cost is much less than N150 million if competitively decided by the NWC,” he also highlighted in the memo.

The national auditor said he raised the alarm of the financial impropriety because of the embarrassment it may cause the party if the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) gets wind of it.

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