The Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar, has denied the allegation by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, of uncovering massive fraud and theft perpetrated by the state government under him to the tune of N400 billion from May 2015 when he assumed office to date.
Speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Ali M. Ali, the governor described the allegation as “absolute balderdash especially coming from a supposedly enlightened leader”.
The governor, in a statement signed by Ali on Sunday, said: “The total receipt from FAAC in the preceding three years is nowhere close to that outrageous figure. It is regrettable that imminent electoral loss is making the Speaker lose his mind.”
However, speaking at a campaign rally in Dass, headquarters of Dass Local Government Friday, Dogara presented documented evidence to a mammoth crowd of his constituents showing how thousands of non-existent people were said to have been employed in 2015 shortly after the governor came into office.
But the governor said: “Making such fantastic claims will not save him (Speaker) from the fury of voters in the coming polls. For a lawyer, this ridiculous allegation underscores the quality of his thoughts and actions as no 4 citizen.
“His leadership is defined by primordial segmentation and sentiments. It is regrettable that his tunnel vision is impervious to the wider and more cosmopolitan polish of the office of speaker of House of Representatives.”
Dogara had challenged Abubakar to take him to court and promised that he will defend the allegations, adding that as a lawyer he knows the law and would not level false allegations against anyone if he does not have evidence.
A perusal of one of the documents indicates that not fewer than 1,200 people were said to have been employed and added to the state’s payroll beginning from July 2015.
However, one of the alleged ghost employees, Bappale Adamu, was said to have been born in 1899, which is 120 years ago and started work with the Bauchi State government on July 24, 2015 and will retire from the service in 2023.
Another startling revelation showed that all the 1,200 workers, though have different names and dates of birth, have the same Bank Verification Number (BVN), meaning that their entire salary was being paid into one and same bank account under different names.
The salaries vary from N39,000 to N86,000 and above.
The speaker also wondered how Bauchi State’s monthly salary skyrocketed from N2.6 billion per month in May 2015 to N7 billion without recruitment of additional workers, especially as the governor had early in his administration, fired thousands of political appointees engaged by former governor Isa Yuguda, which should have reduced the state’s wage bill drastically.
He also accused the governor of diverting billions of local government funds in the last three and a half years.
The Speaker also recalled how the governor chased away contractors renovating Dass Central Mosque but failed to renovate it after repeated promises and revealed how he personally paid for the renovation of the mosque.
The Bauchi State government had owed workers more than one year salaries following series of verifications allegedly to remove ghost workers from the state’s payroll by the present administration at its inception in 2015, but shortly after that, the monthly salary bill increased from N2.6 billion to about N7 billion.
In August 2016, political leaders and stakeholders from the state led by the Speaker sought President Muhammadu Buhari’s intervention on the non-payment of salaries which didn’t yield any result and has been the major source of disagreement between the Speaker, political leaders, stakeholders and the state governor.