Friday, July 1, 2022

Gov. Yari blows hot, dares EFCC on Paris Club refund deal

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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The governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, has threatened a showdown with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for accusing him of diverting part of Paris Club loan refunds.

The governor, who is also the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, made the threat while speaking with journalists on Thursday in Abuja.

Mr Yari is accused of diverting N500m and $500,000 from the Paris Club refunds made by the federal government, in favour of the 36 states of the federation, to personal use.

He said he would formally write the federal government to complain about the antics of the commission’s acting chairman, Ibrahim Magu, against other governors.

“I am going to ‎write to the Federal Government that enough is enough; that either the EFCC does its work or we do a showdown with it,” he said.

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He said while governors on the forum’s platform were in support of federal government’s stance against corruption, they were, however, opposed to the commission’s style of fighting the menace.

The governor urged EFCC to concentrate on the fight against corruption rather than the pursuit of personal vendetta.

He stressed that no governor would walk into any bank’s strong room in connivance with its officials, or dip his hands into public coffers as was being alleged by the commission in some cases.

The NGF chairman said it was unfortunate that the EFCC, in most instances, acted on petitions sent to it without conducting proper investigation.

“You can’t just because somebody wrote a petition, then, you say you are working on it without doing your own due diligent investigation,” Mr Yari said.

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Speaking on project implementation in states, the governor said; “I believe EFCC‎ does not have its own engineers to quantify to know what is exactly on ground”.

He said project cost differs from state to state because of their different geographical terrain.

“A project that is done in Rivers for N2 million, in Zamfara, it will be about N150, 000.

“You cannot say the price of things in Rivers should be the same in Zamfara or somewhere else.

“The terrain is entirely different so is the cost and risk which should be taken into consideration,” he said.

The governor further said if the commission suspected that any state project was over-inflated, it should engage the services of a quantity surveyor to ascertain the truth position of thing.

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According to Mr Yari, there is a procedure for every project to be executed by any governor before a contract is awarded.

“Like in Zamfara, we have finance and general purpose committee which is in charge of tender and some states have tender board where the work is initiated from.

“There is documentation, memo raised, approved by the council and finally assented to by the ‎governor.”

He said governors were ready to support the commission, adding, however, that properly thing must be done in the course of fighting corruption in the country.

He advised the commission to ensure proper investigation for effective fight against corruption in the country to have meaning.


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