Katsina showdown: Ex-Gov Shema, lawyers snub panel

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Shema: snub commission of enquiry
Shema: snubs commission of enquiry

Former Governor of Katsina State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema and his team of lawyers on Wednesday shunned the sitting of the commission of inquiry over the alleged missing SURE-P funds.

Despite media reports that Alhaji Shema would attend today’s sitting, he did not show up.

The team of lawyers that had been representing the Ex-Governor since the inauguration of the commission of inquiry was  also absent.

Counsels to the other top government officials under Shema’s cabinet were also nowhere to be found.

In his remarks, the chairman of the commission, Justice Surajo Muhammed, said that the commission would discharge its duties free and fair.

“This Commission will surely discharge its duties without fear or favour and the most important thing for the commission is to be fair to all.”

“We shall provide level playing ground for all as this not a criminal court but a commission of Inquiry.” he said

Muhammed urged lawyers not to make unnecessary interjections that would cause delays at the proceedings.

Meanwhile, the Katsina State Government has called for the prosecution of former Gov. Ibrahim Shema and 40 other top government officials of his cabinet for allegedly misappropriating Local Government SURE-P funds.

Alhaji Abdullahi Imam, the Special Adviser to Gov. Aminu Masari on Budget made the call while presenting a memo to the commission of inquiry investigating Shema over the state missing funds.

Imam said that the state had relied heavily on the handing over notes presented to the APC government by Gov. Shema officials to ascertain that billions of naira was missing.

“We also relied on the Transition Committee report which indicated that former Governor Shema, his three commissioners, two accountant, one personal Aid and 34 Local Government Chairmen in the state were allegedly culpable of diverting funds.

“The State Government is also relying on the committee report that investigated the activities of SURE-P department during the tenure of governor to ascertain that fraud was committed.

“The SURE-P investigation committee has discovered that the department collected N 8.9 billion and the Ministry of Finance has released N 5.3 billion for its programmes,” Imam said

The adviser said that there was a balance of N 3.6 billion.

Imam said that interest and taxes amounting to N2.5Billion on contract for supply of cars and accrued taxes from banks were diverted by the government officials.

“The Ministry of Local Government Affairs has claimed to have released N4,563,721,815.50 to SURE-P but the department of SURE-P confirmed collecting N3,034,079,024.00, leaving a balance of over N1billion unaccounted for,” he said.

The adviser said that during their investigation of SURE-P activities the committee was able to trace the N1.5 billion to have been paid to ministries and departments.

“There was a balance of N 71,331,438.20 which was interest that accrued but was unaccounted for or missing while on transit.

“The Former Governor Shema is allegedly culpable as all approval were given by him to the Commissioner of Finance, Lawal Jari, who
directed the Accountant-General, Abdullahi Remawa to make payment.

“The Permanent Secretary Ministry of Local Government Lawal Safana and his Commissioner, Hamisu Makana also participated in the diversion of Local Government SURE-P Funds.

“The 34 Local Government council Chairmen were also alleged to have been involved in the Fraud.” he said

The chairman of the commission of inquiry, Justice Surajo Muhammed adjourned the matter until Aug. 18 for further hearing.

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