Speech delivered by Rt. Hon. Dr. Ali Ahmad at the Inauguration of the Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the activities of Harmony Holdings Limited
BEING THE SPEECH AT THE AD-HOC COMMITTEE INAUGURATION ON "ALLEGATIONS OF MISAPPROPRIATION RELATING TO GOVERNMENT ASSETS UNDER HARMONY HOLDINGS LIMITED" DELIVERED BY THE RT. HON. SPEAKER DR. ALI AHAMD ON TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 6, 2017.
At its sitting on Thursday August 17th, 2017, the Kwara State House of Assembly adopted a Resolution on a Motion titled: "Allegation of Misappropriation Relating to Government Assets under Harmony Holdings Limited". The Honourable House directed the setting up of an Ad-Hoc Committee to conduct a thorough investigation of all allegations concerning operations of Harmony Holdings, including its predecessor, Kwara Properties Limited. Accordingly, a seven-man committee was set up to carry out the investigation and report back its findings and recommendations to the whole Honourable.
The history of the Harmony Holdings Ltd. began when the Administration of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed was busy thinking about how best to diversify Kwara economy. He had the foresight of reinventing and redirecting all potential income-yielding and revenue-generating agencies and parastatals of government.
This was at a time when many other governors were oblivious of the then impending dwindling federal allocation and looming recession. His vision gave birth to incorporation of Harmony Holdings Ltd., a conglomerate or holding company that oversees other smaller and industry-specific entities. The hope of Kwarans, do doubt, was that this set of entities and their Holding company would be better managed, reducing cost of operation and increasing profits due to lack of government interference or other bureaucratic drawbacks.
However, the House has long been inundated with several stories, petitions and reports of mismanagement and alleged fraud. The allegations are weighty: that the company, its subsidiary or some of its staff converted or sold choice properties to themselves or their acquaintances and allegedly failed to show evidence of payment of commercially competitive prices into appropriate company accounts, that directors' breach of fiduciary duties to the company has been widespread, and other sundry allegations inconsistent with running of a purely commercial, profit-driven conglomerate.
I do implore all Kwarans to give everyone, both the Committee and the Holdings, the benefit of the doubt. The purpose of this exercise is to establish facts, proffer recommendations and ensure that Harmony Holdings Limited, the repository of our collective wealth, is salvaged and returned back to the path of profitability. What you are expected to do is follow and trace properties, funds and assets sitting elsewhere that should belong to Kwarans. Do not allow yourselves to be compromised or threatened. However, do not victimise or witch hunt.
I should also mention that an indication that this House is not out to witch hunt anyone can be seen in an earlier inquiry of activities of Harmony Holdings. It would be recalled that 17th March, 2016, the House mandated its Committees on Public Account to investigate affairs of Harmony Holdings. However, shortly after the Resolution was adopted, the management, directorate and board of the company swung into action and the House resolved to defer to existing internal mechanism of the corporation to resolve all issues and put the company in the path of probity and profitability.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me appeal to everyone with useful information not to hesitate to share with the Committee. I also implore those that will appear before the Committee to endeavor to present only the truth and nothing but the truth.
Almighty Allah is watching on all of us, you should ensure you discharge this responsibility honoruably in accordance with the salient provisions of Section 128 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On this note, it is my pleasure this morning to inaugurate this important Committee and wish you the best in this assignment in the service of our dear State.