Senator Rochas Okorocha’s administration has been cleared of culpability in the mismanagement of funds belonging to the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission(ISOPADEC). This is according to the final reports of an Independent forensic auditing firm, Corporate Dev. & Assets Management Ltd (CADAM-ANE).
Okorocha was Imo State Governor from 2011 to 2019.
A Panel instituted by the sacked Imo Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, had indicted the Okorocha’s administration for alleged mismanagement of about N6 billion belonging to the Commission.
But the forensic audit report showed that the overall expenditure profile of ISOPADEC within the period under review witnessed an unprecedented high between June 2019 and January 2020, within Ihedioha’s tenure, after Okorocha had left office.
This was contained in the interim audit report published by the auditing firm retained by the Imo State Government.
The forensic audit covered financial transactions in the Commission from 2007 to 2020.
The report revealed that N12.3 billion accruing to the ISOPADEC between May 2019 and December 2019 could not be accounted for.
It also claimed that there are no projects to show for over N10 billion budgeted for projects execution especially from 2019 to 2020.
Further breakdown of findings of the audit, revealed that out of “a total sum of N3.5 billion of unexplained expenditure or online transfers of ISOPADEC funds to sundry PAYEES from its inception in 2007 to January 2020, N647 million was spent between 2007 and May 2019, while the balance of almost N3 billion was spent between June 2019 and January 2020”.
Also, the audit discovered that “while only 44 transactions under the subhead of unexplained expenditure and online transfers were carried out between 2007 and 2019, 88 of such transactions were detected to have been carried out between June 2019 to January 2020, while Ihedioha was in office”.
Some observers who have been following the development, have opined that this report by the forensic auditors may have justified Okorocha’s argument that the several Panels set up by the then PDP administration were witch-hunt panels, which were more focused on scoring political points than genuine and unbiased investigation of the activities of his administration.
Meanwhile, the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, has assured that the government will leave no stone unturned in its efforts to recover monies said to be missing or have been mismanaged by past administrators of the Commission’s funds.