The Bauchi State Government Funds and Assets Recovery Committee revealed that the immediate past governor, Mohammed Abubakar, allegedly sold to himself seven luxury government vehicles for N19,877,275 shortly before leaving the office.
The committee was inaugrated by the state governor, Senator Bala Mohammed, on July 12, 2019, with the mandate to recover all government funds and assets carted away by officials of the former administration.
Speaking at a press conference at the VIP 9 in Bauchi, the Public Relations Officer 1 of the committee, Alhaji Umar Ningi, flanked by other members, said the committee operated within the ambit of the laws of the federation and other enabling laws enacted by the state House of Assembly in the discharge of its duties.
Ningi alleged that of the seven luxury cars the governor sold to himself, one of them, a Landcruiser Armoured Jeep worth N150m, with chassis number JTMHX09J9F4089580, was auctioned at the cost of N7.8m.
“This is a car you can get for about N150m, but the former governor, Mohammed Abubakar, sold it to himself for just N7.8m,” he said.
He said it was in violation of the provisions of the Bauchi State Budget Monitoring, Price Intelligence and Public Procurement Law (2008).
He said, “Other vehicles are: Landcruiser V8, with chassis number JTMHX09J8D4050814, sold at N2.8m; Toyota Hilux, with chassis number MROFX22G2F1436641, sold at the cost of N1.05m; and a Toyota Hilux, with chassis number MROFX22G701415100, sold at N1.05m.
“Others are a Range Rover SUV, with chassis number SALWA2VF3EA366819, sold at the cost of N2.9m; Range Rover SUV, with chassis number SALLSAAD4DA800170, sold at the cost of N2.1m; and Range Rover SUV, with chassis number SALLSAAD4DA81373, sold at the cost of N2.1m.”
Ningi added that officials of the last administration carted away 30 exotic cars when they left office, adding that the committee recovered 15 of the vehicles while the remaining were being traced.
According to Ningi, the committee also discovered that the former governor initiated a transaction and sold to himself a house with a Certificate of Occupancy No. BA/40245, located adjacent to Wikki Hotel, belonging to Bauchi State Government, at a highly subsidised rate.
In a media statement to journalists on Friday, the former Special Adviser to Abubakar, Ali M. Ali, however justified the actions of his boss.
He said it was lawful for any government official to purchase any vehicle that had been used for more than three years.
Ali said, “Our attention has been drawn to the rehash of the several ‘sins’ of former Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar while in office and presented as ‘fresh’ evidence of his corruption and abuse of office.”
He continued: “These are gross distortions. The law provides that users of government vehicles that have been in use for upwards of three years are at liberty to purchase them.
“The vehicles in question have been in use for more than four years. The law provides that they can be sold at 10 per cent of the book value. It is, therefore, perplexing that the committee is alleging foul play here.
“As a matter of fact, the Hilux vehicles that constituted the former governor’s convoy had engine change due to wear and tear associated with convoy duties.”