Im­peach­ment: Zam­fara APC threat­ens law­mak­ers

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - From Shehu Umar (Gusau) & Ke­hinde Akinyemi (Abeokuta)

The rul­ing APC in Zam­fara state has threat­ened to “sanc­tion” the state leg­is­la­tors if they do not jet­ti­son their plan to im­peach the Gov­er­nor, Ab­du­laziz Yari.

The leg­is­la­tors have al­ready left the state cap­i­tal, Gusau af­ter the Speaker of the House, Al­haji Sanusi Garba Rik­iji, his deputy, Muham­mad Abubakar Gumi, the ma­jor­ity leader, Isah Ab­dul­mu­mini and the chief whip, Ab­dul­lahi Dansadau were ar­rested Tues­day by op­er­a­tives of the De­part­ment of State Ser­vice (DSS) and de­tained in Abuja.

Speak­ing with Daily Trust in Gusau, yes­ter­day deputy chair­man of the APC in the state, Al­haji Lawali Bala Yabakaco, asked leg­is­la­tors to ten­der un­re­served apol­ogy over their al­leged plot to im­peach Gov­er­nor Yari or be dealt with.

Yabakaco said the law­mak­ers were self-cen­tred for ac­cus­ing Gov­er­nor Yari of gross mis­con­duct in the way he ran

the af­fairs of the state.

He said the law­mak­ers only came up with the im­peach­ment plot af­ter they made ‘self­ish de­mands’ which were turned down by Gov­er­nor Yari.

“They came up with is­sues con­cern­ing their wel­fare and in the past six years, no­body knew what they were get­ting and what they were do­ing with the funds.

“But, now that their self­ish agenda is quashed, ow­ing to the short­fall in rev­enue al­lo­ca­tion, they are plot­ting to desta­bilise the smooth gov­er­nance in the state.

“Why didn’t they de­mand ex­pla­na­tion for the stop­page of fer­til­izer sales at N1, 000 per bag and the dras­tic re­duc­tion in the wel­fare pack­ages and many other things be­ing given to the com­mon man? All these stopped for lack of funds but they failed to un­der­stand,” he said.

No case with state APC – Leg­is­la­tors

The Zam­fara House Com­mit­tee Chair­man on In­for­ma­tion, Man­nir Aliyu Gi­dan Jaja, has said they have no prob­lem with the state chap­ter of the APC.

“The party wanted to re­solve the prob­lem but could not, up till the time the gov­er­nor mas­ter­minded the ar­rest of our prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers and it’s too late now to do any­thing now. We would not be de­terred by any threat,” he said.

How­ever, Gi­dan Jaja said the prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers have been re­leased by the DSS yes­ter­day.

N23bn ‘il­le­gal loan fa­cil­ity’ ex­posed

Mean­while, fresh facts emerged yes­ter­day as to how a bank man­ager’s af­fi­davit al­legedly “ex­posed” Gov­er­nor Yari’s N23b bank loan said to have been ob­tained with­out the ap­proval of the House of As­sem­bly.

A doc­u­ment seen by Daily Trust, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, showed that the lead­er­ship of the Zam­fara As­sem­bly got wind of the loan fa­cil­ity from a con­trac­tor, who had in­sti­tuted a le­gal ac­tion against the state gov­ern­ment since 2011, over its fail­ure to pay a debt to­talling about N92 mil­lion (in­clud­ing five years’ in­ter­est).

The con­trac­tor ( names with­held), had got­ten a rul­ing of a Fed­eral High Court, Gusau, the state cap­i­tal, on Jan­uary 29, 2016, or­der­ing the gov­ern­ment to pay the debt to­talling N32m (with in­ter­est sum at 21 per cent per an­num), of the to­tal sum, which brought the to­tal sum as at June 31, 2016 to about N92m.

How­ever, it was gath­ered that when the Ogun State-based con­trac­tor’s ef­forts to get his money, were not suc­cess­ful, a sources close to Gov­er­nor Yari re­port­edly told him that the state was fi­nan­cial broke to pay such amount.

But af­ter get­ting feel­ers that the gov­ern­ment had the fi­nan­cial mus­cle to clear his debt through gov­ern­ment ac­counts in banks, the con­trac­tor once again ap­proached the court to com­pel the banks to pay him.

It was in one of the af­fi­davits, sworn by one of the bank’s man­ager, that re­vealed the true fi­nan­cial po­si­tion of Zam­fara State, which in­cluded out­stand­ing obli­ga­tions run­ning into about N23bn.

Ac­cord­ing to the sworn af­fi­davit, dated June 16, 2016, in para­graph 9, the bank of­fi­cial was quoted as hav­ing stated that he “also know as a fact that there are 3 pend­ing loan obli­ga­tions by Zam­fara State Gov­ern­ment (judg­ment debtor) to the 6th Gar­nishee.

They ar­eas fol­lows: a. N 10,020,960,000.00 Salary Bailout Fa­cil­ity for 24th months. b.N 10,000,000,000.00 Con­ces­sion­ary in­fra­struc­ture loan for 240 months (10years) c. Zam­fara State Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral Ve­hi­cle Trans­port Fa­cil­ity with out­stand­ing bal­ance of N 382,810,279.35 DR .”

The man­ager added fur­ther that, “from para­graph 9(c) above, no amount is stand­ing to the credit of the Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral Zam­fara State, rather it is the Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral Zam­fara State that is in­debted to the 6th Gar­nishee.”

The af­fi­davit fur­ther ex­posed the al­leged di­ver­sion of the Fed­eral Al­lo­ca­tion Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (FAAC) funds by the state gov­ern­ment into the ac­count named: “Ac­coun­tant Gen­eral of Zam­fara State (FAAC) with ac­count no. 4030011501 “and with a credit bal­ance of N438,351.08” as at June 16th, when the af­fi­davit was sworn to.

The ag­grieved con­trac­tor re­port­edly met the Zam­fara Speaker last week, with the hope of get­ting as­sis­tance to get his money that the Speaker main­tained that the House was not aware of the loan obli­ga­tions.

On Tues­day, Gi­dan Jaja, ac­cused the gov­er­nor of, among oth­ers, “cor­rupt us­age of lo­cal gov­ern­ment funds for state pur­poses. Inad­e­quate ex­pla­na­tion of N1 bil­lion com­mer­cial agri­cul­ture (CBN) loan, non-re­mit­tance of pen­sion funds to pen­sion ad­min­is­tra­tors, non-re­mit­tance of 5 per­cent emi­rate coun­cils funds, the gross mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of bailout funds to the state by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to set­tle work­ers’ salaries, in­clud­ing N10bn for 2014 and N1.46bn in 2016.”

Al­le­ga­tions not true – Yari

Gov­er­nor Yari yes­ter­day de­nied all the al­le­ga­tions raised by the state As­sem­bly.

A state­ment is­sued by Ibrahim Dosara, the spe­cial ad­viser to the gov­er­nor, reads: “Noth­ing can be far­ther from the truth than this, as this po­si­tion is not in tan­dem with the re­al­i­ties of to­day. A check­list of all the states in the fed­er­a­tion shows that there is vir­tu­ally a blan­ket paucity of funds na­tion­wide and Zam­fara state can­not be an ex­cep­tion from this na­tional set­back.

“It is un­for­tu­nate that a leg­is­la­ture that claims to be se­ri­ous, com­mit­ted and hard­work­ing all in the in­ter­est of the gen­er­al­ity of the peo­ple they rep­re­sent, have kept mute on the very cru­cial is­sues that have been raised in their memo for six years.

“In­ter­est­ingly, the same as­sem­bly is mag­nan­i­mous enough to agree in its sub­mis­sion that the Gov­er­nor had sub­mit­ted and they had as­sented to five bud­gets as well as pass­ing the ap­pro­pri­a­tion bills into law, year af­ter year with­out any com­plaints.

“If the Hon Mem­bers were not con­vinced and sat­is­fied with the per­for­mance of the ex­ec­u­tive Gov­er­nor, one would won­der what in­spired them to pass the ap­pro­pri­a­tion bills from 2011 to date.

“But that is be­side the point. Ac­cord­ing to the leg­is­la­tors, Zam­fara peo­ple have been de­prived of en­joy­ing the div­i­dends of democ­racy.

“The state As­sem­bly also al­leged that the Gov­er­nor does not re­lease monthly cash al­lo­ca­tion to min­istries, de­part­ments and Agen­cies, in­clud­ing the state As­sem­bly. They also ques­tion the us­age of funds meant for Lo­cal Gov­ern­ments for state pur­poses.

“Fur­ther­more, the leg­is­la­ture ex­pressed its dis­taste with the ap­point­ment of the Chair­man of SUBEB, who in their opin­ion should not oc­cupy pub­lic of­fice. The said SUBEB chair­man is yet to be found guilty by any court of law of com­pe­tent ju­ris­dic­tion, but at the level of al­le­ga­tion. Be­sides, the Gov­er­nor has the con­sti­tu­tional right to choose who to work with.

“The gov­er­nor had chal­lenged the Honourable mem­bers to pro­vide any ev­i­dence or proof of his use of state funds on his nu­mer­ous trips out­side the state or the coun­try. None had dared to cast the first stone.”

Photo: Reuters

Thou­sands of sup­port­ers of the rul­ing party Zanu PF gather out­side the party head­quar­ters yes­ter­day to show sup­port for Pres­i­dent Robert Mu­gabe fol­low­ing a wave of anti-gov­ern­ment protests over the last two weeks in Harare, Zim­babwe.

Photo Felix Onig­binde

From left: Min­is­ter of In­te­rior, Lt. Gen­eral Ab­dul­rah­man Dam­bazau (Rtd); Min­is­ter of Trans­port, Ro­timi Amaechi; Min­is­ter of Solid Min­er­als, Kay­ode Fayemi; and Fi­nance Min­is­ter, Kemi Adeo­sun at the Fed­eral Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil meet­ing in Abuja yes­ter­day.

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