Kaduna based business mogul and Chairman of Dialogue Group, Alhaji Mahdi Shehu has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleging that, Katsina state government has squandered N52.6 billion in the last five years from the state’s security escrow accounts.
The Katsina-born businessman however, asked Governor Aminu Bello Masari to as a matter of public interest sack the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Mustapha Inuwa, dissolve his cabinet and resign his position as the state governor and hand over to the Speaker, Katsina State House of Assembly.
Addressing correspondents in Kaduna on his petitions, Shehu stated that, while Katsina state was battling series of killings, cattle rustling and banditry that have left hundreds dead and displaced thousands from their homes, the Masari-led government spent hundreds of millions of naira on frivolous and questionable security expenditures.
Meanwhile, the Katsina state SSG who had on Monday reacted 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.
He said Mahdi Shehu’s allegations were not based on facts on ground, adding that the entire money that accrued to the state security escrow account from 2015 to date was a little over N6 billion.
According to Shehu, “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 N24 billion 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 bundles 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 10 mobile police men at Lambar Rimi. As late as April 2020 he has withdrawn N10.841 million from the escrow security account being their monthly allowances as usual. 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 and 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 SA political to be paid through an instrument or transfer, the said approved N500 million 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.
“The sum of N105 million was withdrawn for the purpose of buying mobile telephone handsets 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 the Emirs of Katsina and Daura are all members of . This amount can conveniently provide 300 boreholes as water has been the biggest challenge to Katsina City,” Shehu alleged.
But 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 to reach out to members at any time their attention was needed.
“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 the 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 a 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.