By Wole Mosadomi
MINNA â€” THEÂ Niger State government has suspended 17 top government officials from office for conniving with contractors and politicians to defraud the state government of billions of naira.
The civil servants who were fingered for inflating the contract sum in connivance with contractors during the immediate past administration will also be made to refund to the coffers of the state government any amount and property linked to them.
State Solicitor-General, Mr. Ndagi Wali, who disclosed this while addressing journalists in Minna said the step taken by the state government was as a result of the outcome of the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the state government to probe the eight year administration of the immediate past government.
The judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Niger State government to probe the eight-year administration of its predecessor under Abdullkadir Kure has recovered N70 million cash from contractors who failed in the execution of the jobs given to them.
However, 13 of the contractors have also dragged the state government to court challenging the validity of the commission.
Wali said beside the cash raked in for the government, some contractors had also turned in cheques amounting to millions of Naira which if matured would be paid into the coffers of government.
He said the Commission had also been able to recover government vehicles illegally carted away by politicians and civil servants but did not disclose the number.
He reiterated governmentâ€™s aim of setting up the commission which he said was not to witch-hunt anybody but to put financial records of government straight, pay off those who have completed their jobs and summon other failed contractors back to site to complete their jobs and also settled them thereafter.
While the commission has recovered cash and some of its properties from the failed contractors, politicians and civil servants, it has also compiled and settled some of the contractors who have concluded their jobs, adding that others will also be paid at the appropriate time.
Also at the briefing, the state Commissioner for Youth and Strategy, Mr. Timothy Jiya, briefed newsmen on the steps taken by government to upgrade the NYSC orientation camp.
He said N580 million was to be expended on the construction of a permanent site for the corps members.