The Zamfara State Government has vowed to recover the sum of N37 billion naira been collected by the immediate administration of former Governor Abdulaziz Yari as reimbursement over construction of 14 federal government roads in the state.
The declaration was made in a press conference by the Zamfara State Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Rabi’u Garba Gusau held at his office Gusau, the State capital, saying, initially, the sum of 47 billion naira was claimed by the immediate past administration before it was reviewed to the tune of the amount in question.
“Having been acquired the knowledge about the said funds owed to Zamfara State, the present administration under Governor Bello Matawalle issued a letter to the federal ministry of works seeking the reimbursement by the federal government.
“A reply was also issued by the same federal ministry of works informing the State Government that, the said amount had since been released to Zamfara State Government, therefore, ‘No more funds to claim in that aspect by the claimant”, the Commissioner has explained.
“Also to reconfirm the payments, Governor Matawalle wrote to the Debt Management Agency on the same matter seeking information on the reimbursement which resulted into the receipt of similar reply with that of the federal ministry of works”, the Commissioner has stated.
According to Alhaji Garba Gusau, only that the reply by the federal ministry of works could indicated a lady who was virtually non indigene of Zamfara State, and a Director General to the Nigerian Governors forum (NGF), have presented an official letters from the then adminstration seeking the reimbursement.
“Considering the genuinity of the said letters presented to the federal ministry of works, the payments were made in two instalments as over 14 billion naira was released to the questionable lady while over 22 billion naira was received to the Director General of the NGF.
“We invited them and grilled for the whereabouts of the said funds, but they replied that they have deposited the money for who assigned them, that was the former Governor Abdulaziz Yari and nothing else left in their possession in regard to the amounts they have collected in the name of Zamfara State Government”, the Commissioner has queried.
Further reveals by the Commissioner had it that, there was no proper documentation for the collection of the payment by the administration in place then which could be recorded into the financial transactions as directed by the laws for the consumption of the current administration to account for when the need arise.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner said, a preliminary investigation had unmasked an illegal use of 10 billion naira out of the claimed money by the immediate past administration in the name of a State University establishment, contending that, “There was nothing spent on the ground to justify the establishment of the said project”.
He further informed that, the Zamfara State Government, in order to trace the reimbursed funds has engaged security agencies and other related authorities from within and outside the country, saying, “We also drew the attention of some Arabian Countries especially through United Arab Emirate to help expose any deposit by the suspected personalities across their banks”.