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Governor under fire over N65b spending on wives, others

Posted by By Our Reporter on 2009/01/07 | Views: 687 |

Governor under fire over N65b spending on wives, others


The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is investigating how the Governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda, and some of his top officials spent N65billion in the past 20 months.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is investigating how the Governor of Bauchi State, Mallam Isa Yuguda, and some of his top officials spent N65billion in the past 20 months.

The anti-graft agency announced the probe yesterday. It is coming barely a week to the marriage of the governor and one of the daughters of President Umaru Yar’Adua.

According to a statement by the Resident Media Consultant to the commission, Mr. Folu Olamiti, in Abuja, the investigation followed a petition to the ICPC.

Olamiti said the investigation had begun since November 2008.

Although the identity of the petitioner was not disclosed, ICPC said N30billion of the N65billion was allegedly withdrawn from the treasury of the state.

The governor’s wives were also accused of squandering about N500million.

The statement reads: "A petitioner resident in Bauchi had on November 7,2008 in a petition titled, ‘Reckless misappropriation of Public Funds,’ accused the governor and top government officials of monumental fraud.

"The ICPC investigators have started looking into the petition by inviting top government officials for questioning.

"The petitioner, among other allegations, has accused the Governor and public servants of allegedly withdrawing over N30 billion from the State Government coffers without any adduced reason.

"That a Chinese firm was allegedly awarded a contract of N1.3 billion for drilling ‘imaginary’ boreholes.

"That there are daily withdrawals of N20 million from First Inland Bank as overdraft.

"The petitioner further alleged that a Lebanese construction company was asked to renovate new Tafawa Balewa General Hospital for N586 million.

"That the Governor allegedly withdrew N279 million from the Local Government Department accounts for relief expenses.

"That he also withdrew N500 million for the same relief expenses to flood victims. But the petitioner alleged that the funds were allegedly misappropriated by the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs and the Sole Administrator.

"That the Governor allegedly used the sum of N14 million to clear his goods brought in from Dubai.

"That he allegedly spent N100 million for its inauguration, and that he also allegedly diverted N16 million from council funds to sponsor Hajj.

"The petitioner also accused the First Ladies of allegedly squandering over N500 million left in the escrow account."

Olamiti said: "All the principal personalities mentioned in the allegations have been visiting the ICPC headquarters since last November."

Denying the allegations last night, the government said they were not true and baseless.

A statement by Yuguda’s Director of Press Affairs and Public Relations, Maigari Khana, said the governor has exhibited "high level of financial discipline in running the state".

The statement reads in part: "The allegations are tissues of lies. There is no truth in all of them. For the avoidance of doubt, Governor Yuguda signed into law the fiscal responsibility and Due Process Bills to give his administration a clean bill of health. No state has done that in Nigeria. Since coming into office on May 29, 2007, he has been conducting the affairs of the state in a responsible ways."

"On award of N1.3 billion contract to a Chinese firm

We don’t know when it became a crime to award contract to a Chinese firm. It is sheer irresponsibility to think that a state government would award a contract worth N1.3billion for drilling ‘imaginary’ boreholes within limited resources. This is nothing but lies. It is true that the Yuguda-led government has embarked on several efforts to make water available to the populace and the evidence abounds in the state. So, there are no unhealthy transactions whatsoever.

"On N30billion withdrawn from the treasury.

How could a sensible government withdraw N30billion from the treasury without any adduced reasons? If money was withdrawn from the treasury, was there no justifiable reason? Here, the onus lies on the petitioner to prove if the money was illegally withdrawn and misappropriated.

"On Governor’s wives.

The allegation that the governor squandered about N500million on the First Ladies is untrue. There is no iota of truth in this and, to us, the allegation is not new. Governor Yuguda does not spend state’s resources on the activities of the First Ladies.

"On N20million daily overdraft. This is another lie. Bauchi State does not get any daily overdraft from First inland Bank on daily basis. A simple arithmetic shows that by the end of the month, the state would have withdrawn over N800million. No responsible bank would grant such facility.

"On Tafawa Balewa General Hospital. One thing that is not clear is if the N586 million allegedly spent on the renovation of the Tafawa Balewa General Hospital was mismanaged. The petition should prove if the contract awarded to the Lebanese construction firm was not done or there were shaddy deals in the contract.

"Relief materials. It is true that we have provided relief materials to some victims of crisis. This we did in a transparent manner. As a responsible government, we cannot explore the misfortune of people to our advantage

"On Dubai. We state categorically that at no time did Governor Isa Yuguda spend the state’s resources to clear his goods allegedly brought in from Dubai or any part of the world.

"Inauguration. One wonders how a governor-elect would spend N100million state money for its inauguration. There was nothing like that.

"To us, this effort at tarnishing the name of Governor Isa Yuguda is the handiwork of the enemies who would not stop at anything to bring the government to ridicule. But we assure Bauchi State people and Nigerians at large that Governor Yuguda is above board in his quest to put Bauchi on a higher pedestal."

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.