May 20, 2024

#Abia’s Audit Clarification: #KPMG’s Review, Sheds Light on State Finances

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#Abia’s Audit Clarification: #KPMG’s Review, Sheds Light on State Finances

#Abia’s Audit Clarification: #KPMG’s Review, Sheds Light on State Finances

The Abia State PDP has voiced significant concerns over misleading statements made by Alex Otti, which have cast a shadow over the financial legacy of the previous administration led by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu. Recent developments have revealed that the document released by Otti, purported to be a forensic audit by KPMG, is in fact a financial process review—a distinction that carries substantial implications for the state’s fiscal narrative.

Abia State has been trending for the wrong reasons in the last three weeks, when Alex Otti, in the far away United States, claimed that a forensic audit conducted by KPMG indicted the former administration of Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and his government for paying N10b for a non-existent airport.

After he was pressured by citizens to make public the forensic audit report, Alex Otti a few hours ago, released a document by KPMG which it titled a Provisions of Financial Process Review for Abia State Government and KPMG stated clearly in its introductory notes that the said document is not an audit of Abia financial records but a mere financial process review and subsequently issued caveats absolving it of any opinions in the said report because it did not render any.

For the benefit of those who do not know, a forensic audit report is typically conducted with the specific objective of uncovering evidence of fraud or misconduct while a financial process review involves analysing operational workflows, identifying inefficiencies, risks and making recommendations for improvements and may include process redesign and automation and other factors to scale productivity.

PDP is not surprised that Alex Otti, a graduate of economics who worked in the banking sector all his life to the point of becoming the managing director of a first generation bank, could not differentiate between a forensic audit and a financial process review because he was, as usual, clouded by hate and deep animus for the PDP and Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.

To bring home the fact, the touted report is titled Provision of Process Review Services, not forensic audit report and the Restriction on Distribution of the Report page, states clearly “This final report is intended for the use of Abia State Government (“ABSG”) and should not be used for any other purposes.

Furthermore, on Page 16 of the financial process review document, KPMG stated in the Nature of Assignment, that:

*a*. This assignment was not performed by us in the capacity of a statutory auditor. Hence,
this is not any form of financial statements audit of ABSG or any entity listed in the
report. We are therefore not required to render an opinion on the financial statements of ABSG or any entity listed in the report.

*b*. Rather, we have performed the procedures we considered appropriate in the circumstances and in line with relevant KPMG methodology.

*c*. We were also not required to review the adequacy or otherwise of the output of the prior
or current external auditors and/or consultants of ABSG, and did not perform any of the
following:

*i*. Conduct a trial and/or inquiry in the course of the assignment.

*ii*. Act as a tribunal, commission of inquiry or in judicial or quasi-judicial role.

*iii*. Perform, any adjudicatory function whatsoever in the course of the assignment.

*iv*. Conduct any exercise with a view to determining whether any person was guilty or
innocent of any offence

From the foregoing, it is evident to discerning minds that KPMG stated very clearly that it did not conduct an audit, much less, forensic. Transparency and accountability are fundamental principles that underpin good governance and public confidence in the audit process.

Unfortunately, the operatives of Alex Otti government have continued to anchor their indictment on the N10b payment which Ferotex, the same contractor Alex Otti is still using, made to 32 other contractors. Thankfully, the operatives of the former government have offered explanations to that and so Alex Otti has nothing to say again.

Like a drowning man who is looking for even a straw to hold onto, Alex Otti keeps making reference to the N10b which he cannot prove. The refusal to allow independent scrutiny of the report suggests a lack of commitment to upholding professional standards and ethical guidelines and PDP demands that Alex Otti make public the cost of the financial process review.

The decision by KPMG to prevent public disclosure and review of the report lends credence  to the fact that the exercise, for which Alex Otti made a mountain out of a molehill, was after all, just an opportunity to spite the PDP and Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu and this goes against the principles of openness, transparency, accountability and good governance. It is essential for the Abia state government to ensure that all audit processes are conducted with utmost transparency and that findings are subject to independent verification to maintain public trust.

The people of Abia deserve to know the truth about any potential financial irregularities or misconduct uncovered by any audit and we urge the authorities to prioritise transparency and accountability in all matters related to governance and financial management.

Fortuitously, the process review report indictated that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu left N3.4b in the coffers of the State, contrary to dubious claims by Alex Otti that he met an empty treasury on assumption of office.

It is clear to Abians who has been lying to them, between Alex Otti and Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu.

The Abia PDP calls on Alex Otti to render a public apology to Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu for smearing his name, especially in an international arena, to Abians for misleading and lying to them serially that a forensic audit was conducted with their funds when it was a mere financial process review meant to improve the efficiency of government operations.

We also call on the good and well meaning people of Abia State to disregard Alex Otti’s recourse to hate and witch hunt and demand from him the good governance which he consistently promised Abians in over eight years as an opposition figure. Governance should be placed above politics for it to make sense.

Signed.

*Hon. Elder Abraham Amah*

*Abia PDP Vice Chairman/Acting State Publicity Secretary*

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