Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Nigeria: Suspended Kagarko LG Chairman Allegedly Made Full Payments For Uncompleted Contracts… House Steps In

Investigations into the alleged multi-million naira contracts’ inflation, multiple payment for uncompleted projects may not end soon, as other numerous fraudulent activities against the Kagarko LG Chairman, Nasara Rabo are being uncovered.

Rabo is also accused of failure to deduct retention fees contrary to Financial Memorandum and carrying out direct labour above approval limit and without clearance in the sum of N72m without proper documentation and maintenance of projects’ financial records.
Mr. Nasara Rabo has since been on suspension pending the outcome of the investigation by a Committee of the Kaduna State Assembly following a report from the office of the Kaduna State Auditor General for Local Governments.

The Kagarko Local Government Area Auditor had earlier forwarded to the State Auditor General, a report which accused the Council Chairman of outrageous and untimely review of contracts sum and payment within two months.

On 16th and 17th October, 2023, a team of investigators from the State Ministry for Local Government Affairs visited the local government secretariat to investigate sundry allegations against the Chairman.

By Wednesday, 18th October, according to our findings, another 15-man Committee of the Kaduna State House of Assembly visited to investigate similar allegations.

Sources at the State Auditor General’s office and Kagarko LGA disclosed that another team from the State Auditor General will soon be visiting Kagarko on the same mission.

Auditor General’s letter to the Chairman which was for the period of January 2022 to June 2023 reads in part: “I am in receipt of aforementioned report from the Area Auditor of your Local Government for the period stated above.
The following are the observations raised in that report:
a.1 Outrageous and untimely review of contract sum and paid within two months of award. Out of the contracts awarded in the period mentioned above, ten (10) of them, (list here attached) awarded on the date of 18/03/2022 were reviewed by N86,221,618.26 and paid on 18/05/2022 in other words, you inflated the contract by N86,221,618.26 and whole contract sum was paid without due observance to financial rules and regulations such as deduction of retention money. Lack of deduction of retention money is an outright violation of financial memoranda (F.M 1724)
b. You embarked on direct labour to the tune of N80,329,000.00 without proper documentation and maintenance of projects financial records.
The Auditors accused the suspended Chairman of committing “serious financial irregularities and fraudulent activities” and directed Nasara Rabo to refund the sum of N86,221,618.26 being the contract inflation awarded and paid within a period of two months.
He was also directed to submit to the office of the Auditor General advance/deposit ledger for the year 2022 and payment vouchers and all receipts of the earlier mentioned direct labour which amounted to N80,329,000.00 along with the reason (s) that necessitated his embarking on the direct labour.

It was reliably gathered that most local government Chairmen use direct labour as a veritable tool to defraud government. The Chairmen or their proxies usually personally handle direct labour categories of projects which do not pass through proper vetting by appropriate professionals in the local government system and where they do, the Chairmen intimidate the civil servants who turn blind eyes to the projects they should ordinarily query.
A staff of the local government made available an electronic copy of the Council/Management, Finance and General Purpose Committee (aka F&GPC) sitting on 30th March 2023 during which it was resolved that the local government would contribute to the Dnata Chiefdom a motor vehicle.
While the description of the item on serial number 6 of the Council Extract categorically stated that the sum of N12m approved in that meeting was “Contribution to Dnata Chiefdom for the Purchase of Motor Vehicle,” but Nasara Rabo said the whole amount was not meant for that purpose only. There were 13 items approved by the F&GPC contained in the Council Extract and serial number 6 clearly approved the sum of N12m from the local government to purchase a car for the Dnata Gbagyi, but investigation revealed that only about N4m was used to purchase the car, while the difference of N8m was pocketed. The royal father ended up with a Mercedes Benz C350 which market value at the time of purchase was not above N4m.
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Regrettably, the car which was handed over to the traditional ruler, His Royal Highness, Bitrus James in July, has continued breaking down severally in the middle of journeys, according to information gathered.
When contacted, Nasara Rabo denied saying “I have no power to buy a first class, second class or third class traditional ruler a car. I have no such approval, but we normally give support to all the traditional rulers within the Council and we have four chiefdoms. Anything we do for Mr. A, we also do for Mr. B and so on as a support. We have supported that of Dnata, Jere, Kagarko and Ere Koro.”

Reminded that the approval of the F&GPC of 30th March was specifically mentioned for the Dnata Chiefdom, Rabo said, “I have not seen that clearance, but what I know is that it is a support to Dnata Chiefdom. That is the one I know and I think I have the record in my domain. I didn’t buy the car for the Dnata, he can tell you who bought the car. We told him that we cannot buy him a car but he should somebody who will by the car for him and we shall give support. He brought someone and said this person will buy the car for him and we gave him the support.” Asked how much support the Council gave the royal father as support, Rabo asked, “What did you see on the approval?
According to Rabo, the support was not for him alone and that it also goes for all chiefdoms.

Investigation further showed that from the electronic copy of the Council Extract of the F&GPC meeting of 30th March 2023, a purported sponsorship of some officials of Kagarko LGA to attend X-Fest Africa Leadership Training and Business Innovation submit in Kigali Rwanda which never took place and the sum of N5.5m was withdrawn from the local government treasury, Rabo said the Rwanda trip had only been postponed to November 30th.

Other fraudulent activities were observed from the Council Extract which include the purported N5m renovation of the military formation (check-points) at Kagarko and another N2,722,000 for the military check-point at Kubachi. In his reaction, Rabo said, “As I speak to you that of the Kagarko has been completed but that of Kubacha is yet to be done as the clearance is still pending. For that of Kagarko, there are about 72 joint Task Force personnel in the local government secretariat. So we had to get a place renovated for them to stay and it includes the military watch tower, about 50 mattresses…”

Many indigenes of the local government spoken to spoke to, including Waziri Gaya, the PDP Secretary were grossly disappointed with the suspended Chairman.

The Chairman according to findings published a calendar for the year 2023 where he show cased many projects purportedly executed; both on-going and completed by his administration. In the calendar, Rabo claimed to have completed phase one and two electrification of Isah Makaranta in Iddah ward, but what is on ground is only a transformer delivered to Isah-Amujeye (Mission) with polls standing but without a single cable on them.

A staff of local government described Nasara Rabo’s tenure as a monumental disaster in the history of the local government .

During a visit on Sunday, 22 October in continuation of the investigation, a road was seen to be under construction. Aliyu Sadanu, a residents of Kagarko told our reporter that the acting Chairman, Hon. Mustapha Gidado had re-awarded the contract for the completion of the road construction.

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