The Adamawa State Commissioner of Police, Mr. John Abakasanga, yesterday arrested and arraigned three of the four commissioners who failed to appear before the state House of Assembly last Thursday over the non-implementation and budgetary expenditure in their ministries.
But in swift reaction, Governor Murtala Nyako faulted the claim, saying the commissioners were waylaid by the leadership of the assembly who then called in the police to present them before the assembly.
The assembly had declared the four commissioners in the Nyako administration wanted following their refusal to appear before the assembly to answer queries on the financial expenditures of their ministries.
The three commissioners paraded on the floor of the assembly included Mrs. Lucy Ishaiku (Agriculture), Lilian Stephen (Health), Alhaji Ibrahim Gorko (Commerce and Industries).
However, a fourth commissioner, Alhaji Abdulrahaman Shuiabu (Land and Survey) was absent.
At yesterday’s plenary, the lawmakers explained that their findings revealed that billions of naira were siphoned in the name of raising memos to execute some frivolous projects which were not executed by the ministries.
In his response, Gorko expressed regret on his failure to honour the initial invitation of the legislators, attributing it to the fact that he was out of town when the invitation was forwarded to his office.
The commissioner said out of the N2billion earmarked for the sales of the Jimeta Ultra Modern Market, his ministry only realised about N100 million attributing the failure to the activities of a cartel who were opposed to the government drive to cause a change in the market.
He explained that the ministry operated five bank accounts into which the proceeds of the sales of the shops were lodged even as he dispelled speculations that he physically withdrew monies from the ministry’s accounts, claiming that only statutory bodies had the mandate to do so.
Gorko also lamented that the market does not generate enough funds to service its operations as such the ministry introduced a N1000 monthly levy on each shop owner to aid the maintenance of the market.
But Speaker of the assembly, Ahmadu Umar Fintiri, expressed disappointment over what he termed as inconsistent financial statements tendered by the ministry and the Ministry of Finance, and suspected a foul play in the whole scheme.
He rebuked the commissioner for telling the assembly that he did not
collects rents when questioned by the legislators, saying that evidence from the various memos the commissioner sent to the governor indicated that the ministry charges rents from shop owners.
The Commissioner of Health, Lilian Stephen, on her part, defended her extra budgetary expenditures incurred by the ministry, saying she had earlier made provision for averments which the assembly totally repudiated, saying it was communicated to it.
However, her remarks did not go down well with the lawmakers who chided the commissioner for not knowing what goes around in her ministry, saying that billions of tax-payers money were being siphoned under her watch as she kept appending her signatures on them.
The Speaker also explained that there were two budgetary sub heads of N220million and N38million for
MDGs in the 2013 budget which were all paid but unfortunately she acceded to accepting only N38million.
However, following the failure of the Commissioner of Agriculture Mrs. Lucy Ishaku to come with relevant documents, she was asked to go back and prepare as she seems not ready. She was asked to come back on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyako while refuting the allegation that the state police commissioner arrested and arraigned commissioners on the floor of the assembly,
said the commissioners were waylaid by the leadership of the assembly who call in the police to present them before the assembly as if they were criminals.
The governor in a statement through his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Ahmed Sajoh, added that the drama that took place in the floor of the assembly was a mere blackmail.
The release read in part: “That Nyako’s commissioners went to the assembly on their own and were waylaid by the leadership of the House who call in the police to purportedly presented them to the assembly as if they were common criminals””
According to the press release , it was unfortunate and smacks of blackmail for both the House and the police to have acted the way they did.
“The claim that the commissioners were arrested by the police was false, malicious and a calculated attempt to ridicule the government and embarrass the persons concerned,” the statement said.