The Assets and Recovery panel set up by the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, has declared that two former governors of the state, Mallam Isa Yuguda, his successor, Mohammed Abubakar, and their associates, must refund to the government over N1tn allegedly looted during their tenures.
The panel said that, as its activities were coming to an end, it discovered more items belonging to the Bauchi State Government in the house of former Governor Abubakar.
Yuguda was Bauchi State governor between May 29, 2007 and May 29, 2015 while his predecessor, Abubakar was in office from May 29, 2015 to May 29, 2019.
Speaking to journalists in Bauchi on Saturday, a member of the panel, Mr Lawal Ibrahim, claimed that some of the items had been recovered from the immediate past governor, Abubakar.
He said, “As the committee was rounding off its activities, it received a whistleblower tip of items being carted away and transferred outside the state by the family of former Governor Abubakar.
“The committee visited the house of the former governor at Fadaman Mada and was able to recover only a few items like 105 Pasta making machines, 10 sewing machines, a carton of surgical hand gloves and several office furniture belonging to the Bauchi State Government.
“The committee had earlier recovered four tractors, a luxury bus and a house belonging to the state government which Abubakar sold to himself. The house is located opposite Government House adjacent Wikki Hotel.”
The panel, according to him, traced a lot of Bauchi Government properties and resources frittered away by the two former governors and their associates and the committee might submit its report at any moment.
Lawal noted with optimism that if the panel’s recommendations were implemented by the government, the two ex-governors and their associates would refund over N1tn to the state government.
On the suit filed by the two former governors challenging the activities of the panel, he said, “Yes, the former governors took the committee before the Federal High Court in Abuja and Bauchi State High Court. But the committee is responding adequately to the suits and will submit its report without hitches.”
Lawal stated that his panel traced over 16 different plots of land, a building and property at different locations in Kaduna State with certificates of occupancy belonging to the Bauchi State Government and investigated various contracts awarded by the two previous administrations, like the purchase of 500 tractors, of which only 40 were delivered.
According to him, the details of the panel’s findings regarding the ecological funds, Paris Club refund and various loans taken, will be made public when the report is submitted to the government.
Efforts to get two former commissioners for information to the Yuguda and Abubakar administrations, Salisu Barau and Umar Sade, were fruitless, as none of them responded to phone calls or text messages sent to them by Sunday Punch.
When contacted, the former Special Adviser to ex-governor Abubakar on Media and Communication, Ali M. Ali, said the claim by the state government was “diversionary.”