Impeachment: Zamfara APC threatens lawmakers
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.”
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.
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.