A former commissioner in Kwara State, Sulaiman Yusuf, has narrated how he acquired two government-owned vehicles for N70,000 before the Justice Olabanji Orilonishe-led Judicial Panel of Inquiry on the sale of the state’s assets.
In August, the Kwara State government commenced a probe into the sale and unlawful acquisition of government properties between May 29, 1999, and May 29, 2019.
Yusuf, appointed a commissioner by a former governor, Bukola Saraki, in 2003, said a bus was given to him from the government house for campaigning while another car was an abandoned one that the ministry of finance auctioned to him at the rate of about N70,000.
He added: “When the commission visited my house, I explained to them that the bus was for a campaign but I was the one who wrote government house number on it. The other one was actually a government number on the abandoned car that the ministry of finance sold to me at about N70,000. It is nothing to write home about. In fact, they have removed the top engine.
“I don’t have the bus papers because I didn’t buy it. How can I buy a campaign vehicle? It was allocated to me and allocating a vehicle in the government house is just by your name or your office and the party.”
This was contained in a statement issued by the panel on Saturday. The statement did not, however, contain the details of the vehicles and their specifications, making it difficult for independent verification of their prices then.
According to the panel, the former commissioner also explained how he acquired a government chalet at 2, Peter Tokula Street GRA, Ilorin in 2004.
Government chalets are usually meant for dignitaries who are visiting the state and are purposely built to save the cost of accommodation.
However, Yusuf said he had occupied the chalet which he later acquired.
“When I was given an appointment in 2003, the government allocated the two bedroom flat property to me in 2004, when there were no windows, no doors and asbestos,” he told the panel.
“It was sold to me at the rate of N8.8 million. I installed everything in the house. But the title was issued to me in March 2016.”
When the chairman of the panel asked whether the property was valued before it was allocated to him, Mr Yusuf said he was aware it was valued but the then government did not tell him the amount it was valued before he was asked to pay N8.8 million.
Yusuf, who was also a chairperson of Kwara State Local Government Service Commission, pleaded with the commission to consider his health and allocate another apartment to him before taking the chalet from him.
“I want to plead that if you want to allocate another chalet or quarters to me, you should please do that before you collect the one I am living now because of my health, please. Almighty Allah will bless you and protect you,” he pleaded.