By Musa Saleh Zurmi
In less than a month to vacate the government house, more revelations keep popping out on how the outgoing Zamfara State Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle approved and disbursed complete payment for projects that were either bogus or abandoned at an early stage.
A recent investigation has shown how the outgoing Governor disbursed billions of Naira to contractors for the construction and furnishing of Governor’s Lodges across 14 local government areas of the State.
Checks into the record of the shady projects have exposed the identity of some of the contractors as cronies, and close associates of Governor Matawalle.
Zamfara State Government under Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle has in the year 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic approached the Federal Government for payment of the sum of two billion Naira as a COVID-19 facility. The state government stated that it needs the funds to renovate, furnish and buy medicines for hospitals across the state.
In January 2023, the Federal Government of Nigeria disbursed the sum of two billion Naira to the Zamfara State Government as requested. The money was meant for renovation, rehabilitation, and supply of medicine to hospitals across the state.
A document from the Zamfara State Ministry of Health exposed how the outgoing Governor approved the payment of 323, 029, 163. 88 Naira to a contractor DBC Nigeria Construction and Mech. Company Limited for the renovations and rehabilitation of the Gummi General Hospital.
A visit to the General Hospital in Gummi has shown otherwise. The hospital is in very bad shape with infrastructural decay. There is no ongoing project despite the payment of millions by the governor.
Another firm New Horizon LTD was approved to rehabilitate and renovate the General Hospital in Tsafe local government. Matawalle’s government has released the sum of 91, 000, 000 Naira to the contractor. The hospital in Tsafe is still in bad shape.
In 2020, A.H.B Modandi Global Services was awarded the contract to construct 14 Women and Children Welfare Clinics across 14 local government areas of the State. The total sum of 352, 171, 190. 00 has been paid, yet such clinics do not exist in hospitals across the state.
On 2nd November 2020, the same A.H.B Modandi Global Services was awarded the contract to procure hospital equipment for 10 Women and Children Welfare Clinics. The sum of 516, 554, 752. 00 was released as payment for the procurement.
Alhaji Mas’ud Abdulkadir Danguruf was a Bonafide PDP supporter who donated heavily to the campaign of the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar in 2019. He initiated the Danguruf support group for Atiku in Katsina State. The Katsina State-born businessman defected to APC in 2022 through the outgoing Zamfara Governor Bello Matawalle.
Danguruf’s companies were among the top five companies that Governor Matawalle uses for bogus projects, especially construction, procurement, and supplies.
His company Danguruf Pharmaceutical Limited has been awarded a contract of the total sum of 59, 141, 575. 00 to construct Governor’s Lodge in Bukkuyum local government area. The sum of 35, 608, 185.13 was withdrawn from the State treasury and released to Mr. Abdulkadir for a project yet to commence.
on 22nd December 2022, the sum of 83, 878, 092. 62 was released from the Zamfara State account to Danguruf Pharmaceutical Limited as a payment for the renovation of 10 General hospitals. The names and locations of the general hospitals have not been indicated.
Again, on 26th December 2022, the outgoing Governor Matawalle released the sum of 1, 409, 435, 798.00 to Danguruf Pharmacy LTD as payment for the procurement of hospital equipment to 10 unspecified hospitals. The funds were disbursed without any information on the names and locations of the hospitals to be equipped.
A senior staff of the Zamfara State Ministry of Health who spoke under condition of anonymity explained that the current situation of the health sector in the State is terrible and alarming. He lamented over the infrastructural decay, lack of qualified staff, and zero supply of drugs.
He further expressed serious concern over the future of the health sector in the State. “The situation is scary, it is on record how billions were disbursed in the name of rehabilitation, renovations, procurement of equipment, and supply of medicines. But everything is deteriorating daily.
“The incoming administration in Zamfara has a very serious job to do; to investigate the contracts awarded and the funds disbursed. Over 90% of the projects in the health sector in Zamfara are shady projects that were only on paper not in reality.
“Matawalle is desperately making moves to withdraw the remaining five hundred million Naira (500, 000, 000) balance from the Two Billion (2, 000, 000, 000.00) COVID-19 facility paid by the Federal government. He already withdrew 1, 500, 000, 000 Naira. This is a piece of key information the incoming administration of PDP in the State should take note of and thoroughly investigate when it assumes office on the 29th May 2023.” The source added.
Despite creating a serious mess in Zamfara State, outgoing Governor Matawalle has relocated to the Federal Capital Territory lobbying for a Federal appointment as a cabinet member in the incoming administration of President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Saleh Zurmi is the Chairman of Zamfara Alternative Forum.