Details have emerged about how the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (Kwara SUBEB) allegedly diverted a sum of N1.5 billion Universal Basic Education (UBE) Intervention Funds in 2013 and got blacklisted thereafter.
The funds originally allocated for the improvement of school infrastructure in the North Central state were used for other purposes, according to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
The spokesperson to Governor Abdurrahman Abdurrazaq, Mr Rafiu Ajakaye wrote in a press statement on Friday that back in 2013, the Kwara SUBEB was allocated the sum for which it was to provide equal counterpart funding to access.
But the then government led by Mr Abdulfatah Ahmed, had approached a commercial bank for a loan of that sum in order to access the money. It thereafter repaid the loan with the UBEC matching grant paid into the account without any actual spending on education.
When UBEC discovered the situation, it asked the state government for a refund. The government paid back N1.05billion leaving an outstanding Four Hundred and Fifty Million, Fifty Thousand, Six Hundred and Four naira, Thirty-Four Kobo (N450,050,604.34) to be paid back.
UBEC Executive Secretary, Dr Hamid Bobboyi revealed these to the new state governor, Mr Abdurrahman Abdurrazaq during the latter’s visit to the UBEC headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the Compulsory, Free Universal Basic Education Act 2004, the federal government through UBEC was to support states in providing access to more funds through the UBE intervention funds, which is funded with matching grants from both ends.
A document made available to EduCeleb.com after the meeting detailed why the Kwara State Government was stopped since 2013 from having access to the funds as it was still defaulting on the allegedly diverted money.
Bobboyi wrote in the document addressed the Chairman, Kwara SUBEB that it was until the outstanding Four Hundred and Fifty Million, Fifty Thousand, Six Hundred and Four naira, Thirty-Four Kobo (N450,050,604.34) was refunded that UBEC would be willing to enable the state government access UBEC funds.
In October 2018, EduCeleb.com reported that Kwara was one of the states that failed to access the UBE funds over the years.
As a result of the 2013 incident, the state could not access a sum of Five billion, Three Hundred and Eighty-Five Million, Six Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Three Hundred and Three naira, Sixty-Eight Kobo (N5,385,619,303.68) which were available to fund basic education between 2014 and 2018.
Aside that, the document noted that the Kwara SUBEB was not maintaining relevant books of accounts and records, and did not submit its financial returns to UBEC for two years.
It also observed that Kwara SUBEB was maintaining three bank accounts instead of one as contained in the UBEC operational guidelines.
Meanwhile, Mr Ajakaye noted in the statement that the Abdurrazaq administration was willing to pay the N450 million arrears in order to access the available funds to develop its schools.
He assured the public that the government was deeply concerned about the decrepit infrastructure in schools across the state and was willing to change the narrative.