…..says he wrongfully allocated State properties to self
…..The allegations will be legally challenged – Abubakar’s Aide
By Charles Agwam, Bauchi
A 21-man Committee of inquiry, Assets, and Funds Recovery Committee set up by Bauchi State governor, Bala Muhammed to probe previous administrations of former governors has indicted former governor Muhammed Abubakar of “gross mismanagement and fraud”.
Speaking with pressmen after its 3-month inquiry yesterday, the Public Relations Officer of the Committee, Umar Barau Ningi, on behalf of the Committee alleged that Abubakar sold seven very expensive cars and a house belonging to Bauchi state government to himself at giveaway prices.
The Committee alleged that the ex-governor did so in contravention of the Bauchi State Budget Monitoring, Price intelligence and Public procurement Law (BMPIPP 2008).
According to Ningi, “The former governor auctioned Land Cruiser Armoured Jeep at the cost of N7.8 million, a vehicle that is worth over N100 million. Land Cruiser V8 was sold to him at N2.8 million. 2 Toyota Hilux was sold for N2.1 million. In addition to that, 3 Range Rover cars were sold at N2.9 million, N2.1 million and N2.1 million respectively.
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“Another 30 exotic vehicles allocated to his political appointees and public office holders who have left office were found to have not been returned. The Committee has already recovered 15 of such vehicles while we are on the trail of the remaining 15 with a view to recovering and returning them to government pool.”
The panel also alleged that the former governor violated his oath of office by initiating a transaction to sell a house to himself with a Certificate of Occupancy number BA/40245 located adjacent to Wikki Hotel belonging to Bauchi State government at a highly subsidized price.
“We also found out that he sold a house belonging to Bauchi state to himself, which is in gross violation of the Bauchi State Budget Monitoring, Price Intelligence and Public Procurement Law (BMPIPP2008) for the disposal of government assets and/or properties. Section 55, subsection 4 and 5 states inter alia; ‘All procuring entities shall distribute responsibilities for the disposal of public property between procurement units and Tenders Board,'” the Committee alleged.
The Committee further said a report of the findings will be forwarded to the Executive Council for appropriate directive and action.
Reacting, Media Aide to former governor Abubakar, Ali Ali has denied the allegations, adding that his principal will seek legal redress.
His words:, “Our attention has been drawn to the rehash of the several ‘sins’ of former governor of Bauchi state, Muhammed Abubakar while in office and presented as ‘fresh’ evidence of his corruption and abuse of office. The latest salvo is by the so-called Bauchi State Assets and Funds Recovery Committee which addressed a press conference and misfired as usual, and as typical of a government adrift clutching at straws and playing ostrich.
“We have addressed virtually all the charges leveled against the government of Muhammed Abubakar in the past ranging from debt profile of the state to funds expended on mahogany etc. we will not, therefore, dissipate energy on those.
“However, one of the salvos that misfired was that the governor sold to himself vehicles belonging to the state government in addition to purchasing a house also belonging to the government.
“These are gross distortions. The law provides that users of government vehicles that have been in use for upwards to three years are at liberty to purchase them. The vehicles in question have been in use for more than four years. The law provides that they can be sold at 10% of the book value. It is, therefore, perplexing that the committee is alleging foul play here.
“As a matter of fact, the Hilux vehicles that constituted the former governor’s convoy had engine change due to wear and tear associated with convoy duties. The house Abubakar purchased was one of three properties situated on one a plọt wholly owned by the former governor long before he became chief executive of the state.
“As a law-abiding citizen, the property in question was duly valued and a competitive price of N23 million paid by Abubakar paid from a personal account. This is verifiable. No under-the-table deal was struck. Curiously, the assets recovery committee peopled by known political foes of Abubakar, in the haste to achieve it a pre-determined objective of injuring the reputation and profile of the former governor, didn’t deem it fit to give a “fair hearing“. The result of this desperate haste is the distortion and misrepresentation of records and facts. These will not go legally unchallenged.”