Former Governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Matawalle has denied embezzling billions of Naira from the abandoned Cargo Airport in Zamfara State, describing the accusations by the present administration as baseless and malicious.
According to vanguardngr.com, the incumbent administration of Governor Dauda Lawal Dare had recently accused the administration of Bello Matawalle of embezzling public funds in billions.
However, in a statement issued by Ibrahim Dosara , former Commissioner of information of the immediate past administration of Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle Maradun, the Governor stated that the accusation was nothing but a calculated mischief and diversionary tactics of Governor Dauda Lawal as ”he specializes in diverting people’s attention from his insensitivity, failure and inability to fulfil his campaign promises on tackling security concerns bedeviling the state immediately after his assumption of office.”
According to the statement,” the attention of the immediate past Government of Zamfara State under Hon (Dr) Bello Mohammed Matawllen Maradun MFR, has been drawn to a press statement issued by Governor Dauda Lawal Dare in which the Governor accuses the immediate past administration of former Gov Matawalle of embezzling public funds in billions.”
“It is in response to this baseless and unfounded claim and allegation, and in order to put matters on record in their true perspective, that I wish to submit the following facts on the cargo Airport project contract:-The immediate past Government under Hon. Bello Mohammed Matawallen Maradun inherited the Cargo Airport Project from its predecessor. As government is a continuous process, former Gov Matawalle saw the need to consider completing the project for its numerous benefits to the people of the state and beyond. I want to bring to the attention of the general public that it is only Zamfara State that has no Airport of its own, up to the time of this press statement.”
“After due deliberations in council, it was agreed that the project be continued. As a follow up to the State Executive Council’s resolution and decision on the project, contractors were invited to bid for the contract to execute the Cargo Airport Project. After reaching agreement and in consultation with the Federal Airport Authority that Matawalle’s government immediately mobilized the contractors to site to handle the project to its timely completion.”
“In the first instance, a bill of 28, 000, 000, 000 (Twenty-eight Billion Naira) was submitted to the government for consideration. However, due to the foresight and prudence of the former Gov Matawalle, his government rejected the bill which the former Gov considered outrageous and crazy. The former Gov therefore insisted that the amount be down reviewed to considerable sum, which was down sized to 11, 000, 000, 000 (Eleven Billion Naira only).”
“For those who are unaware of the funding process of this project, let me bring it to your knowledge that the project was being funded through a banking arrangement known as “Contract financing”. This means an agreement between Zamfara State government and some private companies involving funding banks who released money only on the satisfaction that the certificates raised by government is commensurate to the works done on site. Mr Lawal Dare being an expert banker knows what this means.”
“I wonder how monies meant for the project under this banking arrangement could have been embezzled by the former Governor. For the record, the following compartments of the contract were carried out and have reached various stages of completion as follows: Access Roads -Airport access dual road, Gate and Drainages have all been completed with environment assessment by the Federal Ministry of Aviation carried out and completed.”
” The 1.5 kilometres Link road is cleared, sand filled and compaction completed. However, in his attempt to cause mischief to the immediate past administration, Gov Dauda Lawal ordered for the scrapping of the road.”
”Runway has been excavated, sand filling carried out with compaction of two kilometres out of the 3.4 kilometres completed as well as the clearance of one kilometre completed.”
”Taxing way of 500 metres, clearance, excavation, sand filling and compaction were carried out and completed. Apron area which is 200/2 metres of 190 metres was cleared with excavation, sand filling and compaction were completed. Terminal-Level iron rafter is at 50 per cent stage of completion. Water pool is at 90 per cent completion, while the water reservoir of the cargo airport has been fully completed with all Boreholes drilled across the airport have been completed.”
“The cargo itself is at 75 per cent stage of completion with its fire station at 75 per cent of completion. The cargo airport wire fence is at 75 per cent stage of completion.
Regarding the airport Mast, the NCAA was urged to advise the neighbouring Air Force Base to move it from the current location in order to avoid interruption at the airport. Again, all the relevant and concerned authorities including the Federal Ministry of Aviation, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority NCAA and the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA were involved in the professional execution of the project. The services of competent consultant were engaged in the execution of the cargo airport with all relevant documents at hand.”
“The Contractor, the consultant and the Supervising bank are all available for the government of Dauda Lawal to investigate and ascertain the reality of things regarding the contract rather than rushing to press barking like a wild dog, making unjustified media trial of the former Governor and his government.”
“How can the former Gov being an honest and sincere great leader who saved the state government resources in this project, be accused of embezzlement of public funds in this project? This is indeed, nothing but a calculated mischief and diversionary tactics of Gov Dauda Lawal as he specializes in diverting peoples’ attention from his insensitivity, failure and inability to fulfil his campaign promises on tackling security concerns bedeviling the state immediately after his assumption of office.”
“This campaign of calumny embarked upon by Gov Lawal Dare cannot save him from the slumber of his administration. We therefore condemned in its entirety, this criminal way of governance. It is a complete irresponsibility of the highest order by the Lawal Dare administration to divert peoples’ attention from his government’s incompetence, failure, lack of vision, mission and direction.”
“Rather than concentrating on massive drive and efforts towards finding lasting solutions to the lingering security concerns of the state, the Governor is now chasing wild goose in search of ways to tarnish the hard-earned reputation of the former Governor and his government.”