By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Patriots for the Advancement of Peace and Social Development (PAPSD) has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), asking it to invite, investigate and prosecute former Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Yari, his former Commissioners of Finance and Local Government Affairs, for allegedly diverting over N365million from the accounts of the local government under the guise of sponsoring Ulamas to Saudi Arabia.
The group in the petition said ”We hereby wish to forward a petition to the commission to invite, investigate and possibly prosecute the unlawful deduction of the monthly statutory allocation funds and withdrawals of the sum of Three Hundred and Sixty Five Million Naira (NGN365,000,000), from the Statutory Allocation of November, 2018 to sponsor 35 Ulamas from each Local Government Area of Zamfara State to Saudi Arabia to pray for the successful exercise for the recruitment and operation of Civilian Joint Taskforce (CJTF), to fight armed banditry in Zamfara state.
“The State Governor directed the Commissioner for the Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs to make illegal deduction and withdrawals of Fourteen Million Naira (NGN 14,000,000), on monthly basis from all the fourteen local government area bank account.
The Executive Director of PAPSD, Sani Abdulahi Shinkafi, in the petition to the EFCC Chairman through the Sokoto Zonal office of the Commission, pointed out that “All the Local Government Area Chairmen, Secretaries, Directors of Finance and Cashier duly signed a cheque leaf and submit the copy of the cheques to the Branch Manager, the Sum of one Hundred and Ninety-Six Million (N196,000,000) unlawfully deducted and withdrew in cash at a Bank, Gusau Branch on monthly basis.
“Going by the figures, the sum of two billion, three hundred and fifty-two million (N2,352,000,000.00k) only are unlawfully deducted from Local Government Area Statutory Allocation Joint Account Committee(JAAC) annually at the detriment of the masses of our rural communities.
“Going by His Excellency approval, the sum of Two Thousand Dollar ($2000) was approved to the Ulamas as Basic Travelling Allowances (BTA) to travel to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but going through the payment schedule, the record clearly revealed that the sum of One Thousand Dollar ($1000) was paid to the beneficiaries against the approval of His Excellency.
Shinkafi further stated that “We implore the Commission to find out what is the official status of Kabiru Kamba for signing and collecting the Sum of Nine Hundred and Eighty Thousand Dollar ($980,000) valued at Three Hundred and Sixty-Five Million (N365,000,000) only on behalf of Zamfara State Government for onward disbursement to Ulamas as Basic Travelling Allowances (BTA)
“We hereby urge the commission to engage the service of a forensic expert to authenticate the genuineness of the signatures of the beneficiaries as claimed. In view of the highlighted above, I feel that this weighty allegation should not be swept under the carpet.
“We hereby request for a detailed painstaking and in-depth-investigation to be carried out by your office to unveil those behind this cruel act”, the petition said.