The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has alleged that Bauchi State Governor Mohammed Abubakar has diverted N400bn from the state coffers since he assumed power in May 2015.
A statement by the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to Speaker, Turaki Hassan, on Saturday said Dogara made the allegation at a Peoples Democratic Party campaign rally in Dass, Dass Local Government Area of the state on Friday.
He said the speaker, who officially announced his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress to the PDP recently, presented documented evidence to people who thronged the venue for the rally showing them how thousands of nonexistent people were said to have been employed shortly after Abubakar came into office.
Hassan said, “The Speaker challenged Abubakar to take him to court and promised that he would defend the allegations and added that as a lawyer he knew the law and would not level false allegations against anyone without having evidence.
“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.”
He added, “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 state government on July 24, 2015 and will retire from the service in 2023.”
The statement also claimed the 1,200 workers, although having different names and dates of birth, had the same Bank Verification Number, meaning that their salaries were being paid into the same bank account.
Dogara alleged that the salaries varied from N39,000 to N86,000.
The statement added, “The speaker also wondered how Bauchi State’s monthly salary skyrocketed from N2.6bn per month in May 2015 to N7bn without recruiting additional workers, especially as the governor early in his administration, fired the political appointees nade by his predecessor Isa Yuguda, which should have reduced the state’s wage bill drastically.”
However, the Press Secretary to the governor, Abubabakar Al-Sadique, dismissed the allegations in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents.
He said Dogara “is suffering from election fever and should concentrate on convincing his constituents to vote for him.”
He added, “Dogara’s allegations that the governor has diverted N400bn is laughable. Dogara is suffering from election fever. When you allege that somebody has diverted N400bn in about 43 months, invariably, you are saying that the individual has diverted about N9bn each month. Where did N9bn come into the Bauchi State Government’s coffers?”
According to him, the average amount of money the state gets monthly is N4bn or N5bn.