BY ANDY ASEMOTA, Katsina
The chairman of the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the Katsina State government to investigate the loss of its funds and property, Barrister Ado Mohammed Maaj, Friday, said former governor, Ibrahim Shema, and some officials of the Shema administration are responsible for loss of N55,984,273,521 unaccounted funds between 2011 and 2015.
He said the commission established as a fact, the money was lost and unaccounted for and recommended that all those involved or indicted in the report of the commission should be compelled to refund the money and be prosecuted to serve as deterrence to other public officials.
Maaj, made the declaration in an address he delivered at the submission of the interim report of the commission to the state governor, Aminu Bello Masari, at the government house, Katsina.
He argued that the panel concluded its public sittings on June 1, 2017, despite the numerous challenges to the commission’s work which dragged for over one year.
He disclosed that the commission received 13 memos out of which two were abandoned by their authors and three were discountenanced for being not in conformity with the commission’s terms of reference while one was merely advisory in nature.
According to him, five memos submitted by officials of the state government formed the bulk of the work of the commission.
Maaj, who was appointed the commission’s chairman after Appeal Court sacked former chairman of the commission, Justice Muhammad Ibrahim Suraj, hailed the contribution of Justice Suraj as immeasurable.
Speaking shortly after receiving the report, Governor Masari blamed the immediate past administration in the state for being wasteful in the face of huge federation allocations in the recent past.
His words: “If we have N55 billion in Katsina coffers, we will transform Katsina State into one of the best states in the country. Since we came into office, there is no month we had from the federation account directly up to four billion. It has always been three point something.”
On the rumours that his administration wants to witch hunt the former governor, Masari said: “We did not, we are not investigating contracts that were given by previous administration. The money we found missing we are investigating not contracts, not procurements. We are not doing anything of the sort.”