MacAthur NBA Fund: Murray Confirms N64m was withdrawn without Approval, States how it was spent

The Chief of Staff to the immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Muritala Abdulrasheed popularly known as “Murray” has confirmed the report that the sum of 64 million Naira was withdrawn from the NBA-MacArthur Foundation project account without authorization.

Responding to the report, “Fraud: Past NBA Officers Spent N64M From MacArthur Account Illegally, Foundation Insist NBA must Refund the ex publicity secretary of the NBA, who led the MacArthur Project Team, stated the unauthorized withdrawals was made and noticed in August 2018, the last month of the AB Mahmoud SAN  administration and the inauguration month of the present administration.

According to him;

” In the course of implementing the NBA-ACJA Project throughout year 2017-2018, the Project Management Team was not provided with any verified Bank Statements on the NBA-ACJA Project Bank Accounts and had to rely on periodic updates from the NBA Accounts Unit.

During one of such updates on the NBA-ACJA Project Accounts in August 2018, the then Head of NBA Accounts Unit, informed the Project Management Team about some withdrawals from the NBA-ACJA Project Bank Accounts which information was immediately relayed to the former NBA  President.”

According to Murray, the Signatories to the NBA-MacArthur Project Accout was the immediate past NBA President, General Secretary and Treasurer, Mr AB Mahmoud SANM, Mr Isiaka Olagunju and Aisha Ado-Adullahi respectively.

“The NBA-ACJA (US Dollars and Naira) Project Bank Accounts were opened with Access Bank Plc. in September, 2017. The authorized representatives to the accounts as listed under article 18(2) of the NBA Constitution were NBA President ,General Secretary and NBA Treasurer . For the sake of emphasis, the Project Management Team was not appointed as signatories to the Project Bank Accounts.” 

Murray explained that the withdrawals which he described as a “Problem” was used to complete the construction of the 2nd to the 5th floor of the NBA House.

“The Project Management Team flagged and raised the issues of withdrawals as reported by the NBA Accounts Unit to the then President, NBA General Secretary and NBA Treasurer.

The Project Administration and Finance Officer,M/S Zainab Animashaun also  reported the withdrawals from the NBA-ACJA project Bank Account in her August 2018 Hand Over Reports to the NBA and requested for an External Audit of the NBA-ACJA Project Accounts to determine the actual use for which the funds were expended by the NBA. 

It is important to note that the issues of withdrawals from the NBA – ACJA Project Bank Account were not discovered by the Auditors hired by the current NBA National Officers and current leadership of the NBA but reported by the Project Administration and Finance Officer contrary to the claims of the current leadership of the NBA. When the then Head of NBA Accounts Unit informed the Project Management Team about the withdrawals, the Project

Management Team reported the withdrawals to the then NBA President, Mr. Abubakar B. Mahmoud, SAN, who started taking steps to address the issue and directed that the money  which was spent on the auditorium and completion of 2nd to 5th floors of NBA HOUSE  be returned to the project account.

Mr. Abubakar B. Mahmoud, SAN also reported the issue of withdrawals to the current President of the NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN. Mr. Abubakar Mahmoud, SAN, the current President of NBA Paul Usoro, SAN and the leadership of the Project Management Team met on many occasions to discuss the issue of the  withdrawals and how to solve the problem. All these meetings held long before the current NBA Leadership hired Pricewaterhousecoopers ( Pwc)  as External Auditors. The point is that the issue of thewithdrawals was not hidden from the current NBA leadership.

Members of the Project Management Team have, on various occasions between August 2018 to March 2019, met with representatives of the current NBA administration including its appointed Auditors, Price Water House Coopers to provide clarifications on the NBA-ACJA Project.” ..

The former NBA PS, stated that the 64 million Naira MacArthur fund was not misappropriated by the AB Mahmoud administration but was spent on “NBA public interest projects and infrastructure including the completion and furnishing of the current NBA auditorium”

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