ZAMFARA State governor, Dauda Lawal Dare, has said his predecessor, Bello Matawalle, stole 17 vehicles belonging to the state government.
Dare, who made the allegations while speaking with a local radio station in Gusau, the state capital, on Wednesday, May 31, also said Matawalle looted various public properties, including televisions and cookers, from the Government House.
“Former governor Bello Matawalle had gone away with 17 vehicles from his office and those in the deputy governor’s office claiming that the vehicles are his personal belongings. In fact, not even office equipment were spared,” he said.
“The atrocities are beyond comprehension. I’ve never seen crass irresponsibility like this one. But, with good planning I’m assuring the citizens of the state that we will do our best to correct the anomalies.”
Dare, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), defeated the incumbent, Matawalle, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18 governorship election.
Matawalle is yet to react the Dare’s allegations.
However, the state government’s comments came days after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) disclosed that Matawalle is being investigated over an alleged N70 billion theft perpetrated through fraudulent contracts awarded by his administration.
The anti-graft agency made the disclosure after Matawalle accused the Commission’s chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa of demanding $2 million bribe from him.
“The Commission would like to put the nation on notice to expect more of the kind of wild allegations made by Matawalle as those at the receiving end of EFCC’s investigations fight viciously back.
“But the real issue with Matawalle is that he is being investigated by the EFCC over allegations of monumental corruption, award of phantom contracts and diversion of over N70 billion,” EFCC Director of Communication Osita Nwajah said while addressing journalists on May 18.
Accusing the governor of “monumental” corruption, the EFCC stated that it tracked down more than 100 companies that received payments from the claimed funds while there was no evidence of service to the state.
The EFCC said that as part of the extensive investigation of contracts awarded by the Matawalle administration, especially for phantom projects in the local government areas, it recovered N300 million from a company, Fezel Nigeria Limited.
It added that funds were traced to the Zamafara Investment Company.
Matawalle, in an interview with the BBC Hausa Service, alleged that EFCC chairman, Bawa, demanded $2 million bribe from him.
Urging the Federal Government to probe Bawa and the activities of the Commission under him, Matawalle wondered why the EFCC always beam its searchlight on state governors.
Matawalle further asserted that if Bawa were to leave his position, it would become evident that he lacks integrity.
“It is not just to always blame governors. It is not only governors who have treasury; the Federal Government also has,” he said.
“What does the EFCC boss do to them? As he is claiming he has evidence on governors, let him show to the world evidence of those at the federal level.
“If he exits office, people will surely know he is not an honest person. I have evidence against him. Let him vacate office.
“I am telling you, within 10 seconds, probably more than 200 people will bring evidence of the bribe he collected from them. He knows what he requested from me, but I declined.
“He requested a bribe of $2 million from me, and I have evidence of this. He knows the house we met, he invited me and told me the conditions. He told me governors were going to his office, but I did not. If I don’t have evidence, I won’t say this.”
Bawa had since denied any wrong doing and asked Matawalle to prove the allegation of corruption against him.