The Bauchi State Government’s Assets and Fund Recovery Committee has indicted former governor Mohammed A. Abubakar for allegedly looting and diverting state’s assets and properties.
DAILY NIGERIAN reports that the high-powered committee was set up by Governor Bala Mohammed with a view to probing the immediate past administration in the state.
Addressing a press conference on its activities, the chairman of the committee, Senator Isa Misau revealed that the former governor sold to himself, seven luxury and utility vehicles belonging to the state government.
According to him, the act is in violation of provisions of Bauchi State Budget Monitoring, Price Intelligence and Public Procurement Law.
The vehicles, according to the chairman, includes: Land Cruiser Armoured Jeep, auctioned at the cost of N7,800,000.00, Land Cruiser V8, sold at the cost N2,800,000.00
Others are: two Toyota Hilux Vehicles, sold at the cost of N1,050,000.00 each, Range Rover (Jeep), with Chassis, three Range Rover (Jeep) vehicles were auctioned each at the cost of N2,114,700.00., N2,947,875.00 and N2,114,700.00 respectively.
Mr Misau further said that about 30 exotic vehicles allocated to Mr Abubakar’s political appointees and public office holders were found to have not been returned.
He, therefore, pointed out that, “the Committee has already recovered 15 of such vehicles and, is on the trail of the remaining 15 with a view to recovering and returning them to government pool. In the same vein, the Committee has taken steps to recover the vehicles that the former governor arbitrarily sold to himself”.
Shading more light on the committee’s work, he said that It was also discovered that the former governor had initiated a transaction and sold to himself a house with Certificate of Occupancy No. BA/40245 located adjacent to Wikki Hotel, belonging to Bauchi State Government, at a highly subsidised rate.
This, according to him, is also in gross violation of the Bauchi State Budget Monitoring, Price Intelligence and Public Procurement Law.
The committee chairman also said that between October 2016 and May 2018 alone, nearly N1.4 billion was outrightly stolen.
“Furthermore, there were deductions in the name of civil servants in Bauchi State, for National Housing Fund supposed to be paid to the Federal Mortgage Bank but diverted to private pockets, amounting to nearly N350 Million.
“Under these direct withdrawals and theft, we have a total of about N2.5 Billion.
“The culprits have been identified and efforts have reached an advanced stage to retrieve the amount, and appropriately prosecuted,” Mr Misau said.
On the award of contracts, Mr Misau said the Committee had also uncovered multi-billion naira fraudulent and questionable contracts, some of them fully paid for, but were either abandoned or completely not executed.
The Committee chairman said they identified a highly suspicious contract on Paris Club recovery, awarded to a consultant, Mauritz Walton.
“What makes this contract even more suspicious was the claim by the consultant to have received N5 Billion being part payment from Bauchi State Government, waiting for a balance of N3 Billion.
“However, a payment voucher from the State Treasury and a Bank Statement of Account of Bauchi State showed a figure much less than what he claimed to have received.
“Apparently, the Consultant has no idea how much he has actually been paid. This underscores the shoddy nature of the contract.
“It is shocking that from our preliminary findings, there was no such consultancy work performed by the presumed consultant to warrant payment of such whooping amount of money.
“It is on record that Nigeria Governors Forum had hired a Consultant on behalf of all the States of the Federation on the same issue.
“The Committee is about to conclude its investigation, and certainly recover the amount fraudulently paid to the so-called consultant.”
The committee chairman also mentioned the 4.5km CBN Roundabout – Federal Low-cost -Railway Roundabout road that is yet to see the light of the day.
“This contract is the most controversial of all the contracts awarded under the administration of former Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar.
“The 4.5km road contract was originally awarded at the cost N2,328,679,294.33 on 3rd November, 2015.
“The Committee observed that this contract has been reviewed two times, in the sum of N1,744,338,324.33 and N2,428,995,536.88 respectively. As at today, the contractor has been paid a total sum of N2,786,321,283.45.
“The Committee’s valuation of work done to date is only N1,318,692,684.54, implying that an overpayment to the tune of N1,467,628,598.91 has been made to the contractor, Messrs QUMECS NIG. LTD.”
“It is disheartening that after all these payments, work was abandoned and the contractor is not on site.
“The upward review of this contract, the Committee observed, was done illegally which led to the overpayment as mentioned”, the chairman added.