How Yari, girlfriend mismanaged N37bn federal project refund: Zamfara govt
Zamfara State Government on Tuesday alerted security agencies to track the whereabouts of over N37 billion refunds on federal projects executed by the state.
Rabiu Garba, finance commissioner, said the immediate past administration of Abdulaziz Yari and a female friend might have misappropriated the money.
The commissioner said the amount was initially quoted at over N47 billion as the funds used by the former administration in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 14 federal roads in the state.
“We understood that the cost of the verified projects at the Federal Ministry of Works stood at over N37 billion,” Mr. Garba said. “But when we asked for refunds of the said amount, it was confirmed by both the Federal Ministry of Works and the Debt Management Office that the amount had been paid fully.”
“On further investigation, we gathered that the money was collected by the Director-General of Nigerian Governors’ Forum and one lady who also worked in the same place,” the commissioner said. “We wonder how people who are not indigenes of the state nor have they ever worked for the state should collect such a colossal amount on behalf of the government and people of Zamfara.’’
He assured that the present administration under Bello Matawalle will do everything possible to recover the money “so that we can use it in the development of the state’’.
Muktar Idris, a former finance commissioner under Mr. Yari, exonerated the administration from any wrongdoing.
Mr. Idris said that the immediate past administration constructed the roads at the cost of over N60 billion and claimed the same amount from the Federal Government.
“But a federal government verification committee only approved N37.4 billion refunds which was on completed projects,” he said. “The states were to receive 40 per cent in the first instalment, in which Zamfara’s due amount stood at N14.9 billion.
“All the affected state governors also agreed that the director-general of the Governors’ Forum should collect for them.
“I still have the documents with me where we put over N10 billion as discounted from N14.9 billion into our joint account because we needed the money.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria that they discounted and collected the amount through the Debt Management Office, and the second promissory note was for N22 billion which was also discounted to a little over N17 billion.
“All the money had been deposited into the state government’s accounts,” he said. “Zamfara people are free to check and verify these facts.’’
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