Nasarawa SSG indicted over project scam, to refund over N248.5m

The Nasarawa State House of Assembly’s ad-hoc Committee, investigating alleged projects scam of N1 billion for the renovation/fencing of secondary schools, has indicted the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Aliyu Tijani.

Tijjani has therefore been ordered to refund the government N248.5 million of the unaccounted funds, released in 2018.

The Chairman of the ad-hoc committee, Mr Daniel Ogazi, (APC- Kokona East), who made this known on Monday in Lafia, while presenting the committee’s report during the House′s proceedings, noted that the SSG was the state’s Commissioner for Education when the alleged fraud occurred.

Ogazi said that the former commissioner displayed blatant inefficiency, incompetence and ineffectiveness in the performance of his official duties.

He said based on the committee’s recommendations, N873, 233,942.60 was expended as discovered from the Payment Vouchers (PVs), excluding 5 per cent deductions for Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E), as payments for the completed and uncompleted projects.

During our investigation, we summoned the Commissioner for Education, her principal officers and management staff, the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, the former Commissioner for Education now SSG, Commissioner for Works, his principal officers, as well as the contractors that handled various projects.

“And during our investigation, the SSG agreed that he will take responsibility for his action.

“The total released contract sum was N1. 084 billion only, and if N873, 233,942.60 is deducted from the total contract sum, this will amount to N210, 766, 057.40.

“Then add 5 per cent Monitoring and Evaluation which is N37, 718, 499.19. The total sum of unaccounted funds will amount to N248, 484,556.60,” he said.

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Ogazi urged the government to declare a state of emergency on all abandoned projects to ensure its completion.

“All contractors who completed their work should be paid immediately by the ministry and all payments made to the unknown contractors should be refunded to government coffers immediately.

“Funds should be released to contractors who have the capacity and ability to carry out the work,” he said.

He also called on contractors who collected money and refused to carry out the renovation/fencing to do so within one month or face the consequences.

The committee’s chairman urged the ministry of education to take on the spot assessment of all uncompleted projects to see the level of work done and to make funds available for the completion of the same in the interest of development.

Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, the Speaker of the House, after receiving the report, said it would be deliberated upon on Tuesday.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the speaker had on March 17, constituted the ad-hoc committee to carry out thorough investigation on the alleged misuse of the funds.

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