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Dogara: Bauchi gov diverted N400bn using ghost workers

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has alleged massive fraud and theft perpetrated by Bauchi State government under Governor Mohammed Abubakar to the tune of N400 billion from May 2015 when he assumed office to date. But in a sharp reaction, the governor described Dogara’s allegations as “balderdash”, saying what his administration has received from the Federal Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) in the past three years was not even close to N400 billion. Dogara had, at a campaign rally in Dass, on Friday presented documented evidence to his constituents showing how thousands of nonexistent people were said to have been employed in 2015 shortly after the governor came into office. The Speaker challenged Governor Abubakar to take him to court and promised that he will defend the allegations.

 

“As a lawyer, I know the law and would not level false allegations against anyone if I do not have evidence,” he said.

 

“A perusal of one of the documents indicates that no fewer than 1,200 people were said to have been employed and added into the state’s payroll beginning from July 2015. “However, one of the ghost employees by name, 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,” Dogara was quoted in a statement by his special adviser on media, Turaki Hassan. The speaker also wondered how Bauchi State 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, sacked 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 since he came into office on May 29, 2019.

 

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. Dogara said: “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 sadly, 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 Bauchi state governor.” But in swift reaction, the special adviser to the governor on media, Mallam Ali M. Ali, described Dogara’s allegations as untrue.

 

He said: “This is absolute balderdash, especially coming from a supposedly enlightened leader. “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. “Making such fantastic claims will not save him 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.”

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