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Former Zamfara State Governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar purchased 110 exotic cars for his wives, friends, and appointees, the committee set up by Governor Bello Muhammad Matawalle to verify contracts awarded by the preceding administration has uncovered.
With 70.8 percent poverty rate, Zamfara is ranked by the National Bureau of Statistics among the poorest states in Nigeria in 2020.
The State Projects Verification Committee was set up by the incumbent Governor Muhammad Matawalle to, among others, investigate state of contracts from 2011 to 2019, whether there was any form of over inflation; and the level of payments.
The committee had six months to submit its report. Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Ahmad Abubakar Gusau while presenting an interim report of the findings said over 1500 vehicles were bought at a total cost of N8billion, representing 66% of the vehicles purchased by the State Government between 2011 to 2019, which however have not been accounted for.
He said the vehicles were procured through the office of the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG) without any accounting officer because only the SSG and former Governor Abdulaziz Yari were awarding contracts, since the Permanent Secretaries were sidelined.
“In the course of our duty we were shocked to identify a disconnect between the SSG and the office of the Head of Service. The SSG office was only romancing with office of the Executive Governor and billions of tax payers money were recklessly spent by the two mighty offices,” the committee said.
On school feeding program in the state, the committee said “The number of the students being fed were over- inflated, thus allowing the fraudulent officials to illegally siphon N7 billion every year. This is because in the students feeding affair in the state, professionals and God-fearing individuals were removed and the programme was handed to a cabal who grossly over-inflated the number of students that were being fed.
“For instance, we were at the Government Senior Secondary School, Dansadau where we were told that 700 students were being fed in that boarding school every day, but we were shocked to find out that the very day we visited the school only 50 students were available to collect their food.” He said in the course of borehole construction in the state, two companies were over paid with N63 million and recommended that such money be returned to government coffers, adding that it is the same case in Zamfara Agency for Poverty Alleviation.
The committee then recommended that a total of N9.7 billion be returned to the State Government and those involved brought to justice. Responding, Governor Matawalle promised to implement the recommendations to the letter.