Panel Faults Ex-Bauchi Gov’s N2.3bn Graveyard Funds
The Bauchi State Government’s Funds and Assets Recovery Committee has said the former governor of the state, Mohammed Abubakar, could not have spent N2.3 bn on the purchase of mahogany and shrouds for the Bauchi Central Cemetery.
The panel noted that the only way he could spend such money was if 573, 000 people had died during his four years in office.
I was earlier reported that the Bauchi State Government had said Abubakar spent N2.3bn on the purchase of mahogany and shrouds for use at the Bauchi Muslim cemetery in five months.
The Commissioner for Information in the state, Dr. Ladan Salihu, had said the funds were spent between January and May 2019.
The Special Adviser on Media to the immediate past governor of the state, Ali M. Ali, had clarified that the money spent for the supply of mahogany and shrouds for the cemetery was N1.3bn and not N2.3bn.
He also said that the money was spent during the four-year administration of his boss and not five months.
But the Public Relations Officer of the probe panel, Umar Ningi, said contract for the supply of the burial materials was awarded by the immediate past administration to an array of companies between 2016 and January 2019.
The Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, had inaugurated panel on July 12, 2019.
Ningi said according to the contract, both the mahogany and the shrouds were to be supplied to Bauchi, Azare, Misau, Ningi, Jama’are, Dass, Toro, Gamawa, Darazo, and Alkaleri cemeteries, and other various locations, not properly defined.
Ningi revealed that the pieces of mahogany woods to be supplied were 573,000 at a cost of N1,568, 033, 810, while the total number of shrouds to be supplied were 66,000 bundles at a cost of N820,423,360, thus putting the total contract sum at N2,388,457,170.
He said, “This outrageous contract implied that in the worst case scenario, at least 573,000 people would have died within this period for the mahogany to be exhausted, while the total number of 198,000 people must have died within the period for 66,000 bundles of shrouds to be exhausted.”
He disclosed that a relevant ministry in the state handling the two related matters only recently, approached Mohammed for approval to supply more of such materials at over N1.5m.
Ningi said investigations would be concluded when the committee confirmed the true death figures from various locations to assess the true position of whether or not the materials were brought and if they were used up.
In his reaction, the former governor said he would not waste his time commenting on issues he had addressed before.
In a media statement on Sunday, the Special Adviser to the former governor, Ali M. Ali, said the panel “misfired.”
He said, “We have addressed virtually all the charges levelled against the government of M.A. Abubakar ranging from the debt profile of the state to funds expended on mahogany, we will not therefore, dissipate energy on those.”
“Curiously, the assets recovery committee peopled by known political foes of Abubakar, in a haste to achieve its pre-determined objective of injuring the reputation and profile of the former governor, didn’t deem it fit to give him a fair hearing.”
Ali said that his boss would seek redress in a court of law.
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