Bauchi Govt committee uncovers alleged massive looting during previous administrations

Bauchi Govt committee uncovers alleged massive looting during previous administrations

By Alhaji Umar Barau Ningi, and alam Musa Azare,  Bauchi State Government’s Assets and Funds Recovery Committee

It is with great pleasure that the Bauchi State Government’s Assets and Funds Recovery Committee welcomes you to its press conference. The Committee is very grateful to you for responding to its invitation, and for the fact that you will help us share this news, which is a mixture of sweet and bitter, with members of the public.

You may recall that His Excellency the Executive Governor of Bauchi State Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed, CON (Kauran Bauchi) has during the electioneering campaigns, promised that if elected, he would recover all stolen funds and assets belonging to the good people of Bauchi State. The constitution and subsequent inauguration of the Committee on the 12th day of July, 2019 is therefore a promise kept. The Committee, immediately after its inauguration, sat for a maiden meeting during which it came up with a well thought out work plan. Most importantly, the Committee took a firm decision to operate within the boundaries of laws of the Federation and other enabling laws enacted by the Bauchi State House of Assembly, in the discharge of its assignment.

The Committee has received a total of 279 petitions, complaints and whistle blower exposés. In addition to these, the Committee also received information about Federal Allocations, local and international loans, aids, grants, donations and other interventions, from primary and secondary sources.

The primary sources include Federal Government MDAs such as the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Debt Management Office (DMO), Federal Ministry of Finance, Ecological Funds Office, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) etcetera. Other primary sources include World Bank, World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Dangote Foundation and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The secondary sources are the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Bauchi State, to enable the Committee make comparisons and reach conclusions as to the judicious application, utilisation and management of the resources belonging to the good people of Bauchi State.

All these information were painstakingly looked into, which led to the discovery of massive fraud – outright stealing of public funds, wanton mismanagement of resources, deliberate skewing of contracts, breach of trust, reckless abuse of office and other shoddy deals perpetrated against the good people of Bauchi State by the administrations under review, with the connivance of some criminally inclined civil servants.

The following are some of the heart-wrenching discoveries made by the Committee:

FUNDS ACCRUED TO BAUCHI STATE BETWEEN MAY 2007 AND MAY 2015 (EIGHT YEARS ADMINISTRATION OF FORMER GOVERNOR ISAH YUGUDA) 

STATUTORY ALLOCATION (2007 – 2015)

According to the submission by Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Bauchi State received a total of N393,867,570,547.75 as Statutory Allocation between May 2007 and May 2015.

Conversely, this Committee was able to trace a total of N386,500,736,402.86, from relevant Bank Statements of Accounts at the Bauchi State Treasury. A discrepancy of N6,611,420,477.79, representing Unaccounted Statutory Revenue due to Bauchi State.

SURE-P INTERVENTION PROGRAMME (2007 – 2015)

The Committee discovered that between May 2012 and December 2014, the sum of N8,338,485,091.46 as Federal Government’s SURE-P Intervention. Investigation is still going on to confirm the actual utilization of this amount and you will be duly informed of further discovery in due course.

BANK LOANS TO BAUCHI STATE (2007 – 2015)

The Committee has discovered that a total of N135,145,096,050.84 commercial loans were taken. Out of this amount, N100,961,539,849.33 were loans taken without the authorisation of Bauchi State House of Assembly as required by the extant law. The balance of N34,183,556,201.51 represents the loans which followed due process of law.

Similarly, the Committee discovered that a total of N881,464,360.73 was interest charge on the unauthorised loans.

TEN BILLION NAIRA (N10,000,000,000.00) LOAN FROM FINBANK (NOW FCMB) – BASG MAIN ACCOUNT NO. 2134384701 

The Committee also discovered a commercial loan to the tune of N10,000,000,000.00 taken from the then FINBANK (now FCMB), through a credit entry in the former Main Account of the State Government No. 2134384701, which was apparently “an unsolicited” loan. There were no documents, whatsoever from the Office of the Accountant General of Bauchi State in respect of this loan. The Committee’s search is ongoing to confirm how the funds were utilised.

FIFTEEN BILLION NAIRA (N15,000,000,000.00) BOND

At the beginning of the year 2014, Bauchi State Government initiated a process for raising funds from the Capital Market through the issuance of N15,000,000,000.00 Series 1 Fixed Bond under the Bauchi State Medium Term Loan Programme.

The objective of raising these funds as stated in the issue documents were the completion of Bauchi International Airport; New Bauchi Specialist Hospital and; refinancing of existing bank loans in Fidelity Bank and FCMB.

By mid-December 2014, the process was completed and the proceeds of the Bonds Issue were disbursed through the lead bank – United Bank for  Africa (UBA) Plc.

Full investigation on the utilisation and management of the funds is still in progress and details will be announced as soon as investigation is completed.

ECOLOGICAL FUNDS 

According to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), the sum of N2,000,000,000.00 was paid to the Bauchi State Government as it share of the Ecological Fund for the year 2013. Similarly, the Ecological Fund Office has through a letter with reference no. EF/ACCT/019/1/14 dated 18th September, 2019 confirmed that in 2014, another N500,000,000.00 was paid into the Bauchi State Government Account No. 0998552029 domiciled with FCMB, as Grant for Displaced Persons in the State.

What is outstanding is how this amount totaling N2,500,000,000.00 were expended.

A total of N564,851,151,690.05 had accrued to Bauchi State between May 2007 and May 2015. Over N200,000,000,000.00 of this funds, this Committee discovered, was mismanaged or outrightly stolen under the administration of former Governor Isah Yuguda.

In line with the Terms of Reference of the Committee, “To consider and appraise the report of various enquiry commissions or committees set-up by the previous administrations from May, 2007 to May 2019 with the view of effecting full implantation of all the recommendations requiring recovery of Government’s properties and funds,” the Committee is going to implement all the recommendations contained in the  HIGH POWERED COMMITTEE report that investigated all major contracts awarded between May 2007 and May 2015. 

FUNDS ACCRUED TO BAUCHI STATE BETWEEN MAY 2015 AND MAY 2019 (FOUR YEARS ADMINISTRATION OF FORMER GOVERNOR MOHAMMED ABDULLAHI ABUBAKAR, ESQ)

GOVERNMENT FINANCES:

STATUTORY ALLOCATION (2015 – 2019)

According to the submission by Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Bauchi State received a total of N321,460,759,830.34 as Statutory Allocation between May 2015 and May 2019.

BANK LOANS (2015 – 2019) 

The Committee discovered that a total of N58,602,385,544.00 loans were taken between May 2015 and May 2019.

BAILOUT LOAN FACILITY 

According to the submission by the Office of the Accountant General of Bauchi State, a bailout facility of N8,609,100,000.00; N5,968,400,090.00; N700,000,000.00 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively, totalling N15,282,400,000.00 were released to the Bauchi State Government.

PARIS CLUB REFUNDS 

Similarly, the total sum of N47,314,330,501.72 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 was received by the last administration of Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, according to submission by the Office Accountant General of Bauchi State.

BUDGET SUPPORT LOAN FACILITY 

The Committee discovered that the sum of N17,569,000,000.00 was received by the State as Budget Support Facility from the Federal Government of Nigeria.

EXCESS CRUDE ACCOUNT (ECA) LOAN FACILITY 

The sum of N10,000,000,000.00 was also received by the State as Excess Crude Account (ECA) loan facility.

However, the Committee has observed a discrepancy in the figures supplied by Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Debt Management Agency (Bauchi State) and Office of the Accountant General of Bauchi State on Budget Support Facility provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). The figures under the Budget Support Facility was given as N17,569,000,000.00 and N12,125,000,000.00 by the OAGF and Office of the Accountant General of Bauchi State/Debt Management Agency (Bauchi State), respectively.

Similarly, a loan of N850,000,000.00 being counterpart funding paid Bauchi State by  for the Rural Access and Agriculture Mobility Project (RAAMP) has not been captured in the debt portfolio of the State by both the Office of the Accountant General of Bauchi State and Debt Management Agency (Bauchi State).

ASSETS TAKEN AWAY/REFUSED TO BE RETURNED 

The Committee discovered that the former Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar has sold to himself, seven (7) posh vehicles belonging to Bauchi State Government in violation of provisions of BAUCHI STATE BUDGET MONITORING, PRICE INTELLIGENCE AND PUBLIC PROCUREMENT LAW (BMPIPP 2008), for the disposal of government assets and/or properties. The vehicles are as follows;

Land Cruiser Armoured Jeep, with Chassis No. JTMHX09J9F4089580 auctioned at the cost of N7,800,000.00.

Land Cruiser V8, with Chassis No. JTMHX09J8D4050814 sold at the cost N2,800,000.00.

Toyota Hilux, with Chassis No. MROFX22G2F1436641sold at the cost of N1,050,000.00.

Toyota Hilux, with Chassis No. MROFX22G701415100 sold at the cost of N1,050,000.00.

Range Rover (Jeep), with Chassis No. SALWA2VF3EA366819 sold at the cost of N2,947,875.00.

Range Rover (Jeep), with Chassis No. SALLSAAD4DA800170 sold at the cost of N2,114,700.00.

Range Rover (Jeep), with Chassis No. SALLSAAD4DA81373 sold at the cost of N2,114,700.00.

Similarly, thirty (30) exotic vehicles allocated to his political appointees and public office holders that have left office were found to have not been returned. The Committee has already recovered fifteen (15) of such vehicles and, is on the trail of the remaining fifteen (15) with a view to recovering and returning them to government pool. In the same vein, the Committee has taken steps to recover the vehicles that the former governor arbitrarily sold to himself.

It was also discovered that in violation of his Oath of Office, the former Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar initiated a transaction and sold to himself a house with Certificate of Occupancy No. BA/40245 located adjacent to Wikki Hotel, belonging to Bauchi State Government, at a highly subsidised rate. This also, in gross violation of the BAUCHI STATE BUDGET MONITORING, PRICE INTELLIGENCE AND PUBLIC PROCUREMENT LAW (BMPIPP 2008), for the disposal of government assets and/or properties. Section 55, Subsection 4 & 5 states inter alia; “All procuring entities shall distribute responsibilities for the disposal of public property between procurement units and Tenders Board;” and, “A report of the findings… shall be forwarded to the Executive Council for appropriate directive.” Similarly, PART XI – Section 56, Subsection 6(f) stipulates, “Avoiding all situations likely to render an officer vulnerable to embarrassment or undue influence.” All these provisions were found to have been violated. Above all, the disposing entity, Bauchi Geographic Information Service (BAGIS) is not backed by any law, as the Bill that established the Agency in 2017 is yet to be signed into law. It follows therefore that, whatever business the Agency transacted, and with whomsoever – individuals or organisations, is illegal, null and void, and of no effect whatsoever. The Committee considers as morally reprehensible for a sitting governor to apply for the purchase of a government property and approved same for himself, placing his individual interest above public interest.

The Committee was also able to trace about fifteen (15) properties in Kaduna State, which belong to Bauchi State Government, with their Certificates of Occupancy and ground rents paid up to year 2017. However, the Committee noticed a lot of trespass and encroachment on the properties due to neglect, but legal machineries have been set to evict the trespassers.

ILLEGAL DEDUCTIONS UNDER SECURITY VOTE WITHOUT APPROVAL

Between October 2016 and May 2018 alone, nearly N1.4 billion was outrightly stolen. In 2017 and 2018, unremitted taxes amounting to over N705 Million was uncovered to have been carted away by some greedy officers at the State Treasury.

Furthermore, there were deductions in the name of civil servants in Bauchi State, for National Housing Fund supposed to be paid to the Federal Mortgage Bank but diverted to private pockets, amounting to nearly N350 Million. Under these direct withdrawals and theft we have a total of about N2.5 Billion. The culprits have been identified and efforts have reached advanced stage to retrieve the amount, and appropriately prosecuted.

FRAUDULENT/QUESTIONABLE CONTRACTS 

The Committee uncovered multi-billion naira fraudulent and questionable contracts, some of them fully paid for according to documents showing capital releases, but were either abandoned or completely not executed. While the Committee is still uncovering such contracts, a few examples of them that were established to be bogus are as follows:

CONSULTANCY CONTRACT ON PARIS CLUB REFUND 

The Committee identified a highly suspicious contract on Paris Club recovery, awarded to a consultant, Mauritz Walton. What makes this contract even more suspicious was the claim by the consultant to have received N5 Billion being part payment from Bauchi State Government, waiting for a balance of N3 Billion. However, according to payment voucher from the State Treasury and a Bank Statement of Account of Bauchi State showed a figure much less than what he claimed to have received. Apparently, the Consultant has no idea on how much he has actually been paid. This underscores the shoddy nature of the contract. It is shocking that from our preliminary findings, there was no such consultancy work performed by the presumed consultant to warrant payment of such whooping amount of money. It is on record that Nigeria Governors Forum had hired a Consultant on behalf of all the States of the Federation on the same issue. The Committee is about to conclude its investigation, and certainly recover the amount fraudulently paid to the so called consultant. 

FICTITIOUS CONTRACT FOR THE SUPPLY OF CHEMICALS FOR A PURPORTED FUMIGATION

The Committee uncovered a N418,425,000.00 fictitious contract awarded at the eve of the 2019 election on 31st December, 2018 by the Bauchi State Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, for the supply of Agro-Allied Chemicals for fumigation in primary schools in the 20 Local Government Areas of the State. The supply of this chemicals was never done, but the contractor, one Wuro Soyo Investment Nigeria Limited has been fully paid. It is instructive to know that, chemicals of this amount when diluted, can spray a farmland equal to the entire land area of Bauchi State, which is 49,119 km2. 

CONTRACT FOR THE REHABILITATION OF MURTALA MOHAMMED WAY (CBN ROUNDABOUT-FEDERAL LOW COST-RAILWAY ROUNDABOUT) 

This contract is the most controversial of all the contacts awarded under the administration of former Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar. The 4.5km road contract was originally awarded at the cost N2,328,679,294.33 on 3rd November, 2015. The Committee observed that this contract has been reviewed two times, in the sum of N1,744,338,324.33 and N2,428,995,536.88 respectively. As at today, the contractor has been paid a total sum of N2,786,321,283.45. The Committee’s valuation of work done to date is only N1,318,692,684.54, implying that an overpayment to the tune of N1,467,628,598.91 has been made to the contractor, Messrs QUMECS NIG. LTD.

It is disheartening that after all these payments, work was abandoned and the contractor is not on site. The upward review of this contract, the Committee observed, was done illegally which led to the overpayment as mentioned above. It was also observed that some Certificates of Valuation (CV) raised were not forwarded to Due Process Office Certification for Payments. These Certificates are those that contained the illegally reviewed rates. There seems to be a collusion between some unpatriotic Government Officials and the contractor to review the contracts upward. These officials would be sanctioned according to the Civil Service Rules and Regulations, and the amount overpaid would be recovered.

CONTRACT OF 1.3KM  LINK ROAD WITH STREET LIGHT AT FADAMAN MADA, BAUCHI

This contract was awarded to Messrs KANNOU PROJECT NIG. LTD. at original cost of N298,596,929.00 in November 2015. The contract was later reviewed upward to N463,817,177.75. The total amount paid to the contractor as at today is N412,771,115.00, and the actual value of work done is worth  N298,715,521.21. The illegal review of the original contract rate led to the overpayment of N414,055,593.79. There is an established collusion between some Government Officials and the contractor, which resulted in the overpayment. The officials would be treated appropriately while recovery of overpayment is being handled.

CONTRACT FOR THE DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF ITAS-ATAFOWA-MAGARYA ROAD

This contract was awarded to Messrs KANNOU PROJECT NIG. LTD. at the original cost of N1,455,001,214.90 on 7th October, 2016. It was later reviewed upward to N2,979,340,218.25. A total of N553,978,770.00 has been paid to the contractor, while value of work done is only N151,122,021.00. The project has been abandoned and the contractor has left the project site. It clearly appears that the contractor is incompetent to handle project of such magnitude and complexity, that is why for nearly four years on site, and with the amount paid, only 5% work is achieved. This contract is recommended to be determined and the amount of N402,856,749.64 being overpayment to the contractor be recovered.

CONTRACT FOR THE SUPPLY OF 500 UNITS OF TRACTORS INCLUDING COMPLETE IMPLEMENTS 

This contract was awarded at the cost of N7,925,000,000.00. This contract was a Public Private Partnership contract, with State and LGs to pay N3,170,000,000.00 (being 40% of the contract sum) and the contractor and Bank to pay N4,755,000,000.00 (being 60% of the contract sum). As at September 2018, a total payment of N2,068,958,350.00 has been made to the contractor.

However, as at today only 40 Units of tractors valued at N554,829,280.00 were supplied by the contractor, leaving a balance of N1,514,129,070.00 with the contractor to date. The contractor’s ground for non-completion of the contract was that the Client could not pay up the “agreed” Advance Payment of 40% balance of N600,000,000.00. The Committee is making appropriate recommendation to the Government on the best option to tackle this matter.

CONTRACT FOR THE SUPPLY OF MAHOGANY AND SHRUOD TO CEMETERIES 

This contract was awarded between 2016 and January 2019, to an array of companies including one that is an Engineering and Design Company. The supplies were to be made to Bauchi Central Cemetery, Azare, Misau, Ningi, Jama’are, Dass, Toro, Gamawa, Darazo, Alkaleri Cemeteries, and other “various locations” not properly defined. The total number of mahogany to be supplied is 573,000 (2”x12”x12”) at the cost of N1,568,033,810.00. While the total number of shroud to be supplied is 66,000 bundles at the cost of N820,423,360.00. The total cost of the contract therefore, is N2,388,457,170.00.

The above outrageous contract implied that at the worst case scenario, at least 573,000 people must have died within this period for the mahogany to be exhausted. While a total number of 198,000 people must have died within the period for 66,000 bundles of shroud to be exhausted.

In the meantime, the relevant Ministry handling the two related matters has already approached the current Governor for approval to supply more of such materials at over N155 Million Naira, but investigation would be concluded when the Committee confirm death figures from various locations to assess the true position of whether or not the materials could truly be said to have been exhausted.

CONTRACT FOR THE REHABILITATION AND CONSTRUCTION OF SOME ROADS IN BAUCHI 

This contract was awarded to Messrs QUMECS NIG. LTD. at the initial cost of N1,957,519,297.53. It was later reviewed downward twice in the sum of N1,103,734,742.13 and N1,237,202,468.13 respectively. Similarly, the sum of N133,467,726.00 was found to have been added to the contract sum as “Loss of Profit” to compensate for the omission of Asphalt Work. This, the Committee believes is too much a compensation. The percentage of work done to date is 21.6% and, the contract has been abandoned and the contractor has left site. The Committee has established an overpayment of N537,117,385.86, which is going to be recovered. In the same vein, the appropriate compensation for “Loss of Profit” would be determined, and any such amount overcharged would be recovered.

Being text of press conference held on 2nd October, 2019

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