Kaduna based business mogul and Chairman of Dialogue group limited, Alhaji Mahdi Shehu has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleging that, Katsina State Government under the administration of the governor, Aminu Bello Masari, has squandered N52.6 billion in the last five years from the state’s security escrow accounts.
But the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa who had on Monday responded to Alhaji Shehu’s earlier allegations on corrupt practices by the state government, debunked the allegations, saying that, the Government had only received N6 billion as security votes in the last five years.
“Shehu who made the allegations didn’t base same on facts on ground, adding that, the entire monies that accrued to the state security escrow account from 2015 to date was a little over N6 billion”. The SSH had said.
The petitioner who is a native of Katsina State, however, asked Governor Aminu Bello Masari to as a matter of urgency sack the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), dissolve his cabinet and resign his position as the state Governor and hand over to the state assembly Speaker.
Addressing newsmen in Kaduna on his petitions, Shehu stated that, while Katsina State was battling series of killings, cattle rustling and banditry, the Masari led government spent hundreds of millions of Naira on frivolous security expenditures.
Shehu had said that, “Series of press conferences were conducted by government officials in respect of my allegations rather than picking all the issues I raised and debunk them with facts, the SSG resorted to swearing and telling more lies, concealing more facts that are no more secret since some of them are already in public domain.
“The SSG denied the N24billion security expenditure from June 2015 to Dec 2018, with 2019 and up to April 2020 figures available, the security spending has risen to N52,686, 869,248.00, spendings that are full of lies, with bundle of contractions, repeatedly and unequivocally doubtful, suspicious, with evidence of greed, betrayal, daftness and complete absence of conscience.
“Further revelations on reckless and doubtful spending include withdrawal of cash on 29th April 2020 to the tune of N345 million from the escrow security account domiciled at UBA Plc/Fidelity Bank Plc for the purpose of “renovating Air Force residential quarters in Katsina.
“The SSG deliberately and deceptively posted some official documents to convince you that they have since stopped paying the so-called 10 mobile police men at Lambar Rimi. You now have evidences that as late as April 2020 he has withdrawn N10.841 million from the escrow security account being their monthly allowances as usual. So far, from June 2015 to April 2020 N849.656 million was removed in cash from the escrow security accounts domiciled at UBA Plc/Fidelity Bank Plc as “monthly allowances to 10 MOPOLs at Lambar Rimi.
“List of those MOPOLs, payment vouchers, bank details their signature will be a better proof than internal memo and fund release paper which any smart alec in trouble can author in minutes.
“At the end of the month of May 2018, N500 million was approved to the office of the SA political to the Governor to enable “the office of the special adviser (political to extend KTSG assistance and donation to the APC national convention committee to enable them carry out the national convention at FCT Abuja). Vote charged was 4601218/11.
“Rather than seeing the money paid to the said SA political to be paid through an instrument or transfer, the said approved N500m was transferred into the personal accounts of four active politicians and political appointees. this somersault took place at the finance ministry.
“Between 2015 to 2018, N562.175 million was withdrawn in cash from the security escrow account of the state and dashed to the “chief imams of the state as annual clothing allowances and cost of transportation”. All the three chief imams are alive and owe it to themselves and the public to speak out. I have not seen what was given to CAN since they are also a registered religious body representing both indigenous and settler Christian community.
“The sum of N105 million was withdrawn for the purpose of buying mobile telephone hand sets to 12 “members of the security council”. Thus, every telephone cost N8.750 million assuming the telephones were purchased or the money was just simply shared by the members. The Governor and their royal highnesses the emirs of Katsina and Daura are all members of the council and alive too. This amount can conveniently provide 300 boreholes as water has been the biggest challenge to Katsina City,” Shehu alleged.
However, the SSG in response to the specific allegations said, only a little over N2 million was expended to buy phones for the state executive council members to enable them reach out to members at any time their attention was needed.
According the SSG, “The allegation that the state government embezzled more than N40 billion, with hundreds of millions credited into accounts of public office holders is frivolous and unfounded.”
“The entire money that came into the state security escrow account since we came into office is N6.4 billion, so how can somebody say that we embezzled N24 billion from same account?”
“When you deduct monies paid as salaries and pensions, along other expenditures, what usually remains is not more than N200 million or thereabouts. Where or how was N40 billion diverted in such case?
“We promised to expend public monies in a transparent manner and the details of what goes in and out of government coffers is there for all to see.
“We intend to seek redress in court, and some of the public office holders including Senator Bello Mandiya, have denied the alleged monies diverted into his account,” he said.