*Recommends prosecution, 10-yr ban from political office
*Govt’s claims false, diversionary —Saraki
By Dapo Akinrefon & Demola Akinyemi
ILORIN—CHAIRMAN of the White Paper Panel on the unlawful sales of Kwara State Government’s properties from May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2019, Mr. Hussein Buhari, yesterday, indicted former Senate President and former Kwara governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki and his successor, Mr. Abdulfatah Ahmed and their cronies of economic sabotage of state properties and urged Governor Abdulrahman AbdulRazaq to prosecute them to recover the properties.
The panel, in its report, recommended a 10-year ban from political office for the indicted former governors and their aides, among others, to recover the alleged stolen properties.
Buhari while submitting the report to the governor, said the affected personalities shunned the panel and failed to use the opportunity to defend themselves hence the need to prosecute them.
His words: “The committee swung into action immediately it was inaugurated and went through the report of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the sales of Kwara State Government Assets between May 1999 and May 2019. There are so many rots perpetrated by the past governments especially in the
16 years before 2019.
“For instance, the rots on Shonga Farms, Satellite Motel, and our properties in Kaduna, Abuja and Lagos were simply inconceivable. They were all sold to themselves at giveaway prices. We saw criminal conspiracies. In fact, Kwara State is now heavily indebted to some people because the past governments mismanaged our properties.
“I just wish Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq will have the courage and political will to implement the report so that everybody found wanting will be brought to book. And the Electoral Act is very clear that anybody who is found guilty of mismanagement of resources be banned for 10 years from holding political office.
“We wish the government will accept our recommendations and set up an implementation committee.
“The State Government should take them to court and prosecute them for economic sabotage and, if found guilty, the government should ban them from holding political offices for 10 years.
Responding, Governor AbdulRazaq commended the panel for a job well done adding that the recommendations were noted for action.
Govt’s claims false, diversionary —Saraki
Reacting to the panel’s report, the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office faulted the panel noting that they were not invited to appear before it.
It also described the state government’s claims as false and diversionary.
In a statement by the Press Officer on Local Matters, Abdulqadir Abdulganiy said: “Our attention in the Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office has been drawn to a press Release released by the Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq Government titled: ‘Assets: Try Saraki, Others for Criminal Conspiracies against Kwara. White paper panel tells Gov’, and our initial reaction is that we are not surprised the quality of writing demonstrated in the statement and the incoherent, fallacious and salacious claims contained in it. It just shows how low governance has become in Kwara State.
“First, for the information of discerning members of the public, neither Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki who left the Office of Governor of Kwara State 10 years ago nor Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed, the immediate last Governor got an invite to appear before any investigative and fact-finding panel set up by the Abdulrazaq administration. Thus, it is clear that the so-called investigation being conducted is not about finding facts. It is about throwing mud and staining the predecessor of Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq in Office.
“Secondly, while reacting to the claims contained in the poorly written and disjointed press statement, it should be noted that both Dr. Saraki and Alhaji Ahmed will never be shy of giving account of how they managed the assets of Kwara State. In fact, both men took decisions concerning those assets in a manner that will enhance their value and stimulate economic activities in the state, which was hitherto referred to as a civil service state.
“It is also noteworthy that Abdulrazaq’s administration has failed woefully to attract any investment in its two-years in office and has rather resorted to making false claims about how BUA Investments came to Lafiagi. This is an investment that was attracted to the state by both the Saraki and Ahmed administrations.
“It is clear that the press statement under reference is another one of the tactics of Abdulrazaq to divert the attention of the people from his non-performance and lack of tangible projects that can be showcased during the second anniversary of his administration, which is about 48 hours away.
“Abdulrahman should stop getting jittery about the name of Saraki. He should focus on working for the people of the state and executing projects, initiating programmmes and policies that will benefit the people of the state.”