Chris Steven, Abuja
A civil society organizations under the auspices of Concerned Citizens of Zamfara State (CCZS), has disclosed that all projects carried out under former Zamfara state Governor, Senator Sani Yerima were all captured in the state’s budget.
Reacting to a news published in a national daily that Sen Yerima allegedly mismanaged funds meant for the repairs of Gusau dam, the CSO described the publication as baseless and unnecessary media campaign.
A statement issued by the CSO, signed by its president, Abdulrahman Tumbido and Secretary, Saminu Muazu stated that the allegation that N1billion loan was taken for the repairs of the dam was discovered by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) officials themselves to be only N500 million.
It noted that all payments listed in the ICPC allegations were approved in the 2006 budget of Zamfara state as indicated in the table presented to the court containing all information pertaining to the alleged payments.
“They presented the letter of loan approval by the UBA dated October, 2006 which shows that N500 million Naira was approved as loan by the bank for the repairs of collapsed Gusau dam and N500 million Naira as overdraft to the state government.
“It is very clear that loan and overdraft are two different issues, and therefore there is nothing like any 1 billion Naira loan,” the statement said.
The statement noted that the ICPC officials also presented statement of account of Zamfara sate government from UBA where N500 million was disbursed as loan and credited to its account on the October 11, 2006. Adding that there was nothing like N500 million overdraft in that statement of account.
“Also, the ICPC officials confirmed in their presentation to the Court that the sum of N574 million was actually spent on the repairs of Gusau dam.
“Therefore, the amount of the loan disbursed by the UBA is N500 million Naira and also amount spent on the repairs of the dam is N574million, then where is the diversion of funds?
“Section 120, 121, and 122 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, clearly stipulated how money is to be received by any state government and also how to spend it. Zamfara state government under the administration of former Governor Yerima strictly observed the provision of the Constitution as shown on the above table,” it said.
On the allegation of overpayment on the sale of grains, the statement said that the ICPC officials confirmed to the court that the contract for the supply of grains to the federal government was awarded in the month of April, 2007.
“They also confirmed that when former governor yerima handed over power to his successor on 29 May, 2007, the contract was neither completed nor terminated.
“All documents including a letter from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and water Resources to Governor Mahmud Aliyu Shinkafi, who succeeded Yerima, requesting for a review of this contract reference No: FMA/SGR/S/664/1/39 dated 17th July, 2007 was presented the court.
“How can there be an overpayment on a contract that is still on-going?
“Finally, with this publication, the ICPC has now exposed the political intension for taking former governor Yerima to court. From the caption of this story, and the fact that The Nation is the only newspaper that carried it, the political desire to tarnish the image of Yerima in this case has been exposed.
“Even though the intension of this case is to tarnish Yerima’s image, however, we thank Allah (SWA) that there was no where the ICPC alleged that Yerima benefitted personally or diverted to his personal account any money from Zamfara State government during his tenure,” the statement added.