By Tanimu Salihu Mafara
More facts emerged on how the Former Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Mohammed Matawalle awarded various projects worth Billions of Naira to his company BESBELMON.
A few days ago, before the expiration of his tenure as the Zamfara State governor, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) declared that it would arrest former Governor Bello Matawalle to charge him for 70 billion Naira fraud.
Recall that many misdoings of Former Governor Matawalle were in the media and public space. It is on the record how he allegedly plots to sell the Kaduna Liaison office complex to one of his associates at a paltry sum of 600 million Naira.
All other allegations range from the contract for the construction of Governors Lodge across the 14 local government areas of the State to the contract for the supply of medicines to hospitals. They were contracts awarded to different contractors, in most cases complete funds were disbursed to the companies without following due process.
Zamfara is the worst state, with a 92 percent poverty rate, according to data from the Oxford University Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) “Nigeria Country Briefing,” 2017.
The OPHI data indicate that the region, with vast landmass, posted as the worst performing in the “multidimensional poverty index data bank.”
The region, according to states ranked, posts an average of 85.36 percent in the poverty rate in the period under review (year-to-date, 2017), with six northern states ranked as “worse states.” With Zamfara topping.
This is a state that has over 80 percent of its population engaged in agriculture. A state blessed with massive land for farming and other natural resources. But a state wrecked by bad leadership since the return to democracy in 1999.
Recently, The Governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State accused Bello Muhammad Matawalle, of stealing 17 government vehicles and looted items from the state government residence, including televisions, air conditioners, and cookers among other valuables.
In a raid last Friday, over 40 official vehicles were recovered from Matawalle’s residence in Gusau and Maradun local government areas of the State.
The new government of Dauda Lawal has entered government to find no single official car in the government house. All luxury cars bought were nowhere to be found.
It is disheartening to uncover more details of the corruption of the outgone administration of Matawalle. BESBELMON is the company of former governor Bello Matawalle, and a document exposed how he awarded a contract to the same company on the 7th of July 2021 for the construction of the office of the governor and Residence at the sum 1, 865, 052, 982.85. the sum of 1, 819, 170. 816.33 was paid to the company.
Furthermore, on the 17th of August 2022, another contract was repeatedly awarded to BESBELMON for the construction of the office of the governor and Residence at the sum of 442, 535, 351.73, of which the total amount was disbursed.
On the 6th of September 2022, former governor Matawalle’s company, BESBELMON was awarded a contract to construct a 2-story building, with 5 bedrooms as the governor’s residence. A 75% payment of the amount 1, 221, 242, 968.93.
On the 15th of July 2022, additional funds were disbursed to Matawalle’s company, BESBELMON, for the construction of the office of the governor and Residence. A total sum of 500, 001, 210.33 was released to the contractors from the Zamfara State treasury.
None of the said offices and residences are near completion, despite the complete withdrawal of funds meant for the project. This is a clear case of mismanagement of public funds. It is high time for the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to do the needful in the case of former governor Matawalle. He is not covered by any immunity at the moment, and it would be the height of recklessness for the administration of President Tinubu to shield a person who committed such financial offenses.
Tanimu Salihu Mafara is the Chairman of the Zamfara Alternative Forum