By Idowu Isamotu, Abuja
A former Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar on Tuesday took a swipe at his successor and current governor of the State, Bala Mohammed, over series of allegations levelled against him that he mismanaged some funds which belong to the State.
Abubakar was reacting to the Bauchi State Government Funds and Assets Recovery Committee, who alleged that the immediate past governor, sold to himself seven luxury government vehicles for N19,877,275 shortly before leaving the office in October and wasted over N300bn on frivolous engagements in four years.
He also vowed to drag the incumbent, Sen. Bala to court, saying he has been defamed.
It would recalled that the state governor, Senator Bala, had inaugurated the committee on July 12, 2019, with the mandate to recover all government funds and assets carted away by officials of the former administration.
Speaking at a Press briefing in Abuja, through his aides led by Umar Ibrahim, former commissioner of Housing, Abubakar described the allegations as laughable, that his administration wasted over N300bn being Statutory Allocation to the state between May 2015 to May 2019.
He said the committee members are people who are political foes of former governor, noting that considering corruption charges against some members of the committee, it lacked merit to investigate how he (Abubakar) spent State’s fund without witch-hunt.
“We are addressing you today to straighten the records and to put a lie to the many falsehoods peddled by the Bauchi State Funds and Assets Recovery Committee recently. We hasten to add that these wild and malicious allegations against former governor, MA Abubakar (Esq) will not go legally unchallenged.
“Those conversant with political developments in Bauchi State are aware that the ’Committee’ itself was peopled by certified political foes of the former governor, with rancid reputations.
“The Chairman, Senator Isa Hamma Misau, is currently battling with sundry charges of corruption, self enrichment and abuse of office leveled against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) when he held sway as Senator representing Bauchi central between 2015 to 2019.
“This alone, puts a dent and a big question mark on his integrity and that of the committee to discharge their responsibilities without witch-hunt. The leadership of the committee is reflective of the leadership of the current state government,”Ibrahim said.
The former commissioner added that alleged figures reeled out by the committee, without hearing from Abubakar are mere conjecture not backed by empirical evidence.
He stressed that the committee failed to provide either a reference number or a date in which the Accountant-General of the Federation confirmed the disbursement of the said sum.
According to him, “Without recourse to the principle of fair hearing and in flagrant breach of the norm, the Committee went to town with its ”findings” without hearing from the former governor in line with the said principle thus confirming suspicions that its main objective was to maximally damage the reputation of the immediate past governor and make him appear unworthy of leadership and trust. These will be challenged in the Court of Iaw.
“Among the various allegations the Committee leveled against MA Abubakar. is one that is most laughable, that the former administration wasted the staggering sum of N321,460,759,880.34 being Statutory Allocations to the state between May 2015 to May 2019!
“Shockingly, the Committee failed to provide either a reference number or even a date in which the Accountant General of the Federation confirmed the disbursement of the said sum.
“In the course of its work of witch-hunt, the Committee used the opportunity to fritter public funds by going on a jamboree to the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation for information readily available in the office of the Accountant General of Bauchi State.
“Secondly, if we should go by the submission of the Committee of the sum of N321,460,759,830.34, it meant that the average monthly allocation to Bauchi State for a period of Forty Eighty (48) months stood at N6,697,099,163.13. Even at that, it amounts to a mere conjecture not backed by empirical evidence,” he said.
Ibrahim, however, explained that between June 2015 and May 2016, the sum of N47, 947,594,197.24 only was accrued to Bauchi State as Statutory Allocation making an average monthly allocation of N3,995,632,849,77.
He stated, “It may interest you to know that between June 2015 to May 2016, the sum of N47, 947,594,197.24 only accrued to Bauchi State as Statutory Allocation making an average monthly allocation of N3,995,632,849,77. This is a sharp contrast to the claim of N6,697,099,16 by the Committee.
“On assumption of office, Governor Abubakar Inherited a backlog of four months unpaid salaries amounting to about N12.5 billion naira. This compelled him to agree to a Bailout Loan Facility of N8, 609,100,000.00 along with other states of the federation facing similar dilemma to off-set unpaid salaries payable in twenty (20) years. The repayment of the said Bailout Facility commenced in January 2016.
“The other listed bailout funds in 2016, 2017 and 2018 by the committee of NS, 968,400,090.00 and N7, 000,000,000.00 are fabrications of an over active imagination to engender hate and repulsion against our principal!”
Similarly, while reacting to the vehicle issues, the former Special Adviser to Abubakar, Ali M. Ali, also justified the actions of his boss.
He said it was lawful for any government official to purchase any vehicle that had been used for more than three years.