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Zamfara State Governor, Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawalle has inaugurated a Commission of Inquiry arising from the reports received from various committees appointed to find a lasting solution to banditry and related crimes in the State.
The Governor who spoke through his Deputy, Barrister Mahdi Aliyu Gusau said that the commission would also look into the bailout funds collected during former governor Yari’s administration and the N107 billion missing as a result of various shoddy deals and other corrupt practices in the state.
The Governor said that his administration was making efforts to get to the roots of the problem of banditry and other related crimes that have affected virtually all parts of the State.
“I set up a committee under the chairmanship of the former Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Dahiru Abubakar. The Committee completed its assignment and submitted its report with extensive findings and recommendations.
“This Commission of Inquiry will work based on the findings of these committees. It will therefore address the issues raised by the Committee for finding solutions to banditry and the various issues of fraud, abuses and blatant disregard to due process in contracts execution as captured in the reports of the Projects Verification Committees
“Considering the weight of the issues raised by the various committees, especially the Committee for finding solutions to banditry, which is the most sensitive of all, it is the opinion of my administration that the report should be further x-rayed by this Commission so that the matters could be resolved firmly and decisively.
“I believe this will further consolidate the gains of my administration in fighting banditry and rebuilding the social and economic fabric of Zamfara State.
Matawalle noted that the setting up of the Commission is also in line with the desire and mission of his administration to holistically address the security challenges, and put an end to the culture of impunity, tidy up government’s business and institute a proper mechanism for award and implementation of projects in the State.
“Let me also add that addressing the various issues raised by the reports of Projects Verification Committees will equally go a long way to strengthen the culture of transparency and accountability which are the watchwords of my administration.
“You may recall that I signed into law the bill for the establishment of Bureau for Public Procurement on 4th September 2020 as part of the institutional mechanism of ensuring transparent contract award process and implementation in the State. Our 2021 budget is also based on International Public Sector Accounting Standards, which will make us operate like any other transparent economy in the world.”
It could, therefore, be recalled that committees for Projects Verification made some revelations pertaining to gross violation of contract award procedures, non-execution of contracts based on agreed specifications, inflation of contract sums and, in some cases, outright non-performance of the contracts despite allocating huge amounts of money to the contractors.
The governor explained that some of the startling revelations made explicitly by the State Projects Verification Committee include misappropriation of the seventeen-billion-naira bailout funds, and the sum of two billion naira meant for the small and medium enterprises in the State.
He further stated that It was also discovered that there was a lot of over invoicing in the procurement process and allocation of lands belonging to the State government to individuals.
According to him, the report shows that the State lost a staggering amount of over N107 billion naira through the various shoddy deals by the immediate past administration, as identified by the Committees.
“These and other anomalies discovered are unacceptable. Such gross mismanagement of public funds cannot be condonable by any responsible government. Therefore, we have to take the right steps to recover the public funds for the betterment of the lives of our people”
“We have engaged people of good repute and professional competence to handle this critical assignment. I have no doubt in my mind that the Chairman, Hon. Justice Abdullahi Yusuf, former Chief Judge of Katsina State, and other eminent personalities constituting the membership will conduct this assignment guided by the relevant legal ethics, due diligence and with a high sense of integrity”
“I also direct all the Government MDAs that may be referred to for any information to give maximum cooperation for the success of the assignment. I also give you the assurance that the Government is ready to accept any decision that you will proffer as your inquiry outcome”