Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle of Zamfara State has approved the setting up of a commission of inquiry to probe alleged misappropriation and over-invoicing of contracts to the tune of over N107 billion by the immediate past administration in the state.
The decision to set up the commission was reached on Thursday at a State Executive Council meeting and made public by the State Deputy Governor, Barrister Mahdi Aliyu Gusau.
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“This is partly a fallout of the final report of the Alhaji Ahmad Zabarma Committee constituted in the wake of this administration to find out the depth of engagement by the last administration in terms of public finances and procurement,” the deputy governor said.
It could be recalled that just last week, the state government said it discovered the misappropriation of about N37 billion promissory notes which were lodged at a commercial bank and allegedly collected in a shoddy manner and the sums collected were also discovered to have disappeared.
Reacting, Alhaji Mukhtar Shehu Idris, a finance commissioner during the administration of former Governor Abdulaziz Yari, dismissed the allegations of shoddy deals.
He said there was nothing like diversion of N37.8bn refund made to the state by the Federal Government for executed projects.
Idris, who served as finance commissioner when the money was refunded to the state government, said the sum of over N60 billion was expended for the construction of the dilapidated federal roads across the state but only N37.8 billion was approved for refund by the Federal Ministry of Works.
According to him, the refund of the amount was done in form of a promissory note by the Federal government which would take three years to mature and become real cash.
“So after collecting the promissory note, you have to negotiate with buyers to give you cash if you can’t wait for three years, as such the CBN agreed on the 9% deduction”.
“If you deduct 9% from N37.8 billion, you will be left with N27.5 billion and that was exactly the amount Zamfara state government collected as repayment.
“Anybody that is in doubt should go to UBA to verify,” he added.