One of the pioneers of Nollywood, and now Delta State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Richard Mofe Damijo better known as RMD and the acting General Manager of Delta state’s Tourism Board, Ms. Philo Nkem Ajufo, have been accused of looting N50 million belonging to the ministry.
Dependable sources in the embattled Ministry revealed that a former commissioner in the Ministry had requested for a sum of N50 million to organize the “Delta State Expo 2007.”
However, it was learnt that the state government could not approve the said amount the same year for some reasons.
The source said the funds were eventually approved and released to the ministry of tourism under the leadership of Damijo in May, 2012.
He said: “As soon as the money arrived, the commissioner said that the ministry could no longer hold the event since six years had elapsed.”
“The Honourable Commissioners also argued that Deltans would have forgotten about the event – and therefore the money should not be used for the purpose it was released,” the source added.
Some documents obtained by newsmen from the Delta State Ministry of Finance show that the N50 million must be spent on the event for which the Culture Ministry applied for it.
The warrant, which was signed by one P.O. Evuojapha on behalf of the Commissioner of Finance indicates that N35 million of the funds was meant for the Tourism Board.
Closed insiders however said that Damijo conspired to issue a check of N35 million in the name of the General Manager of the state’s Tourism Board, Ms. Ajufo who allegedly deposited the sum into her First Bank private account number 3006131619.
The source said: “Mrs. Ajufo and RMD then shared the money.”
Another top government official said that, “It is very obvious that the manner the cheque was issued in the name of the board’s GM instead of in the name of the board was fraudulent. It portrays an element of fraud.”
A reliable source hinted that Ms. Ajufo used her share of the looted funds to start off a twin duplex building located at No.6 Dunkwu Crescent, Asaba in June, 2012.
The twin complex we gathered is behind Junior Staff quarters and opposite one of the branches of Redeemed Christian Church (RCCG) in the state.
The source further said that tourism board’s members had denied receiving any of the embezzled funds.
He said: “She accused Mr. Mofe Damijo of carting away the whole sum of N50 million even when her account was used to commit the fraud.”
It was also gathered that all staff of Ms. Ajufo have reportedly lost all patience with her manner of running the board. “The acting GM is very, very corrupt,” said a staff.
“As we talk, apart from her official car, the Tourism Board cannot boast of a single functional car. All the board’s cars are grounded. And in this era of technology, there is no single working computer apart from one in her office – which she doesn’t use. Her office is entitled to N1 million subventions every month, but as soon as the money comes, the commissioner and the GM share most of it. The left over is never properly used by the GM.”
Another source said that Ms. Ajufo embezzled some funds meant to secure an exhibition stand at the festival. “The GM collected N500, 000 from the government to procure an exhibition stand for Delta State at the Akwaba Festival held in Lagos in October, 2012. Instead, she pocketed the sum of N300, 000 and went for an ordinary table stand which cost her N200, 000 only. She is the most corrupt of all the GMs we have ever worked with in the board. She runs fraudulent deals with the Commissioner and they have both amassed wealth for themselves to the detriment of the people of Delta State.”
When contacted over the allegation, Ms. Ajufo, said, “Please, speak with the Honorable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism. Thank you.”
In his reaction, the actor-turned-politician denied all the allegations levelled against him, he maintained that he’s not aware if such amount was released to his ministry at any time.