TEXT OF AN EMERGENCY WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED BY THE KATSINA STATE CHAIRMAN OF THE NATIONAL CONSCIENCE PARTY, NCP, ALHAJI ABDULMUMINI SHEHU SANI ON THE 3RD OF SEPTEMBER, 2018 IN KATSINA
I have invited you to this emergency press conference to alert you and indeed members of the public in Katsina State, Nigeria as a whole, and members of the global community on series of monumental frauds, outright looting of public funds and breach of public trust perpetrated by Governor Aminu Bello Masari and key officials of his government since they took over the reins of leadership of Katsina State in May 2015.
These are not mere allegations but concrete facts supported by indisputable evidences. Based on my personal conviction and insistence that these frauds must not be swept under the carpet but investigated and the culprits brought to book now or in no distant future, I have already forwarded same as a petition to the economic and financial crimes commission, EFCC, and I am here to bring same to your attention.
Below are a few disturbing instances of gross economic crimes perpetrated by Governor Aminu Bello Masari; Secretary to the Government of the state, Alhaji Mustafa Inuwa; Commissioner for Local Governments Alhaji AbdulKadir Zakkah; Directors of Admin and Finance of the 34 LGAs, Permanent Secretary Government House Alhaji Muntari Lawal, Chairman Internal Revenue Board, General Manager State Housing Authority and a host of other state government officials.
Unlawful cash withdrawal of over N3 billion from state Sure-P accounts with Access Bank and other banks from June 2015 to December 20015 in contravention of the state appropriation laws for the personal use of Governor Masari and select officials of his administration for which I have forensic details of withdrawals without evidence of expenditure on the public.
Award of N2.8 billion contract in June 2015 for procurement of fertiliser without budgetary provision, Tenders Board or Executive Council approval which was clearly over and above the Governor’s approval limit while the fertiliser was never procured. Instead the fertiliser stored by the previous administration was distributed.
Fraudulent misappropriation and diversion of over N2.5 billion from the account of the state Housing Authority and funds belonging to the state and local governments in contravention of the state appropriation law and extant rules and regulations.
The criminal and unjustifiable renting for the army of Karama House building along Hassan Usman Katsina Road, Katsina, at the unbelievable cost of N750 million per annum as well as renovation of same at N250 million, while the building cannot be rented aboveN20 million per annum. This monumental breach of public trust must be thoroughly investigated and the money recovered.
The unlawful and illegal withdrawal of N510 million and diversion of same from Local Government Accounts at N15 million per Local Government in June 2015 which money was diverted for personal use of Governor Masari and his cronies in government.
Unlawfuull and illegal release and diversion of non-appropriated sum of N589 million which was withdrawn in cash by one Kabir Faskari (Kebram) on the pretext of Ramadan feeding which was however handed by the wife of the SGS and one Sabo Musa, an ally of Governor Masari who helps him launder money.
The looting, diversion, misappropriation and outright stealing of N3.6 billion cash in 2016 by Governor Aminu Bello Masari, Mustafa Inuwa and officials of the state ministry of finance from an illegal security Excrow account in contravention of the state appropriation law and Money Laundering Act by making numerous cash withdrawals of between N20 million and N300 million on various dates in2016 which money was never completely given to the security agents but was diverted by Gov. Masari Mustafa Inuwa, Perm Sec. Government House and others. Instances include:
N88 million in cash for show of force on 25/2/2016
N270 million in cash on purported security surveillance in 34 LGAs on 6/4/2016
250 million withdrawn in cash on 18/6/2016 on purported security surveillance which amount was bogus
N325 million cash withdrawal on 26/6/2016 on yet the pretext of security surveillance of Katsina township which never took place while the money was shared in cash between Gov. Masari Mustafa Inuwa and the director security in the SGS office
N74 million given in cash to the then state commissioner of police on 2/5/20016
N150 million withdrawn in cash on 8/10/2016 purportedly shared too security aides of President Buhari
N110 million cash withdrawal on 9/10/2016 purportedly given to the officer commanding 35 battalion of the Nigerian army
N150 million cash withdrawn on 5/5/2016 on the pretext of holding interactive session with religious leaders who never received up to N5 million.
N50 million purported cash assistance to AIG zone 1, withdrawn on 11/2/2016
N20 million cash withdrawal on the pretext of paying 10 mobile police officers guarding Lambar Rimi Wind while the officers received less than 1million per month.
Over N318 million purported spent in funding political activities of the APC like rally to receive decampees and payment of rent of APC party office.
OTHER INSTANCES OF FRAUUD AND BREACH OF PUBLIC TRUST
Paris Club Refunds: Katsina State government received a total sum of N14.5 billion as Paris Club refunds early 2017, but a large chunk of the money was shared like booty among Katsina State government officials. Indisputable evidence is available on how part of the money was shared in cash among state government officials, lawmakers and friends of the government.
Bail out: over N11 billion was received by Katsina State government as bailout purportedly to settle salary and promotion arrears left by the previous government. But when it became clear that no outstanding salaries was owed civil servants, the state government lied that the money would be used to settle pension liabilities. Forensic evidence shows that the money was fixed and paid to pensioners in delayed batches while the dividend that accrued from the money was shared among key state government officials.
Fraudulent Leasing of Shonghai Farms: The immediate past administration spent billions of Naira to build Shoghai farms to train young farmers, provide extension services to farmers, and produce food and beverages to boost the state’s economy. However, the current administration has leased the facility and 10,000 hectares of farmland around Zobe Dam to Dangote Group at the token sum of N500 million, thereby displacing local farmers and young indigenes of Katsina State who should be receiving training on the farm and robbing the state’s economy of the benefit that should accrue to the state from the facility. Furthermore, the state government cannot give account of how the lease money was or would be spent in line with its policy of opaqueness and secrecy in running the state’s finances.
Opaqueness Policy: the Masari-led administration is so far the most opaque government in the history of Katsina State. In absolute contrast with the promise made by Alhaji Aminu Masari prior to his election in 2015, he has so far run an administration which finances is shrouded in secrecy as a result of the gross financial malpractices being perpetrated by the administration. The administration is run by gold diggers who are out to unjustly enrich themselves on Katsina state taxpayers’ money
Local Government Caretaker Committees
Of recent, Katsina State government appointed caretaker committees for the 34 Local Government areas in the state. however, members of the public will be disappointed to know that the caretaker committees were installed not to take government closer to the masses, but too justify past looting of billions of Naira from local government treasury and to justify further looting of local government funds. Evidence is already at hand of how the new caretaker committees are made to sign bogus vouchers of past illegal spending of taxpayers’ money
On EFCC: An axiom says that ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’. I have so far submitted several evidence-backed petitions to the EFCC on a wide range of financial crimes committed by officials of Katsina State government. But to this day, no concrete action has been taken to thoroughly investigate these cases of financial malpractice nor to bring the perpetrators to book. I therefore challenge the EFCC to swing to action and salvage the mandate given it to investigate and prosecute financial crimes perpetrated by officials of Katsina state government. This mass looting of public funds in Katsina State constitutes a major threat to national security, as it has worsened the poverty and unemployment level while fuelling the flames of violence and political thuggery in the state. It has as well deprived the health, education and other key sectors of the economy of quality attention and funding.
The Press: As the Fourth Estate of the Realm, the press is the custodian public trust, and pubic trust can only be breached with impunity if the press is asleep. I therefore challenge the press in Katsina State to arise to its responsibility and embark on investigative reports on the gross mis-governance, monumental fraud, outright theft and criminal breach of public trust by the Aminu Bello Masari-led administration in Katsina State.