The former deputy governor of Gombe state, Mr Charles Iliya, has reacted to allegations that he voluntarily surrendered luxury vehicles in his possession to the assets recovery committee setup by state governor Muhammad Inuwa Yahaya.
According to the former deputy governor, he was issued a letter to return government properties improperly disposed to him and he was planning on how to react to the issue. He however said: “I was shocked to see armed security personnel both within and outside my house, a day after receiving the letter, with a warrant demanding me to surrender vehicles in my compound. They were all armed, including a senior police officer with them, so I allowed them to take the cars.”
Mr Iliya, in an interview with newsmen, claimed that the cars were the official vehicles he used during his four years tenure in office and that he properly applied for the vehicles which was approved by the state government.
“I paid for the cars and that has been the trend in Gombe State, whenever there is a change of government the outgoing government auctions some properties to its officials. Because the life span of government vehicles has always been four years.”
“I was surprised to hear that I voluntarily surrendered some vehicles to the committee, because my understanding of ‘voluntarily’ would have been that either I returned the vehicles myself or I called the committee or some of the members to come and collect them. None of this happened, the cars were not taken or hiding anywhere; they were all in my compound, because I knew that they were lawfully acquired from the government,” the deputy governor said.
He added that the state chairman of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and some party elders had paid him a visit to hear his own version of the story.
“So I believe we are working on a plan to tackle the issue, because I was not the only one affected by the action of the committee.”
The asset recovery committee had revealed that the former deputy governor voluntarily surrendered an armoured bulletproof Lexus Jeep and two other luxury vehicles to its charge. The committee also appealed to former governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, his Aide Decamp (ADC), Principal Permanent Secretary (PPS) and other political appointees who served under him, to appear before the committee to account for properties worth billions, illegally disposed of at the end of their stay in office.