From Maiharaji Altine Gusau
Zamfara State House of Assembly has commenced investigation into the N37 billion promissory notes belonging to the state government collected by the administration of former Governor Abdul Aziz Yari at the tail end of his tenure.
In a statement issued to newsmen, the Director General, Press Affairs and Public Relations, Malam Mustafa Jafaru kaura said, “In continuation of the investigation, the House has today met with the state commissioner of finance Alhaji Rabi’u Garba Gusau and his justice counterpart Barrister Nura Ibrahim Zarumi”.
In his testimony before the committee, Finance commissioner told the panel how he and his ministry discovered the monumental fraud by the past administration of Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar through the dubious sale of the promissory notes without due regards to the laid down procedure.
He said his attention was drawn to the fact that the federal ministry of Works and Housing was supposed to refund the sum of N37 billion to the state government for the execution of federal roads projects by the Yari administration.
To commissioner explained that when his ministry wrote to the Federal ministry of works about the refund, it was discovered that, the money in question had since been paid to the past regime In two trenches of N14 billion and N22 billion naira respectively between January -April of last year 2019.
Rabi,u Garba said his ministry had also written to the debt management office of the federal government which later gave the detailed information on how the shady deal was conducted.
“The graphic records showed that out of the N37 billion naira promissory notes paid to previous administration in the state, N14 billion naira was the share of 14 local government councils which was paid in January last year and was collected by one Chinwe Juliet a staff of Nigerian Governors forum’s secretariat Abuja.
“While the second trench of the payment which was N22 billion was paid in April and was signed and collected by the Director General of Nigerian governor’s forum on the instruction of former governor Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar”.
More worrisome and disturbing according to the Finance Commissioner was how the N14 billion naira local Governments share was traded between the former commissioner for local Governments and Chieftency Affairs, Alhaji Bello Dankande Gamji and his management staff disposed off the promissory notes to United Bank for Africa (UBA ) at a give away price of N14 billion naira only.
“While the sum of over N22 billion naira promissory notes meant to the state government share was also traded to the same bank which is (UBA ) at the cost of N17 billion naira an indication that the government and people of the state were completely shortchanged”.
Rabi’u further told the panel that on noticing this clear cut of criminal breach of trust he quickly petitioned the inspector General of police Muhammad Adamu to investigate the matter with the sole aim of prosecuting all those involved in the promissory notes scandal.
He concluded that, “presently, the police command is still investigating the matter and the top ranking officials of former Governor Yari are being investigated accordingly.
On his own part the attorney General and commissioner of justice Barrister Nura Ibrahim Zarumi denied his ministry’s knowledge of any deal regarding the promissory notes scandal.
He said available records left by his predecessor indicated that nothing of such transaction came to the books of his ministry or attorney general’s chamber that has to do with the N37 billion naira promissory notes.
Zarumi however described the deal as shamble, characterised with fraud and shady that would not hold waters and commended the legislature for taking the bull by the horn to unravelled the truth of the matter .
Other stakeholders that testified before the committee and denied having any knowledge of the deal are the Managing Director of the state Investment and Property Development Company, Alhaji Anas Hamisu Gusau and Director General State Executive Council Secretariat, Dr Abubakar Muhammad among other key government officials.
In his remarks, the chairman of the panel, Honourable Muhammad G.Ahmad Walin Jangeru expressed happiness and joy to the invitees for honouring the Assembly’s invitation and promised to carry out the investigations deligently .