Zamfara State Government presented documents revealing how Bello Matawalle blew over $1 billion for an abandoned catering rest house.
The immediate past administration of former Governor and current State Minister for Defence, Bello Matawalle, misappropriated 1,011,801,545.79 billion Naira intended to construct a catering and hotel services centre (Gusau Motel) in the State capital.
In a statement issued in Gusau on Wednesday, the Spokesperson of the Governor, Sulaiman Bala Idris, emphasised the need for Bello Matawalle to explain the payment of 93% to 180 CIRCLE CONSTRUCTION & ENGINEERING LTD for a project of 1,149,288,084.25 billion Naira.
According to him, the state government publicly discloses these revelations to promote transparency and accountability and discourage financial banditry among public officials.
The statement read in parts: “In the interest of transparency, the Zamfara State Government deems it a responsibility to expose the numerous shady projects initiated by the immediate past administration of Bello Matawalle with the intention of misusing State funds.
“On July 16th, 2020, the previous administration of Bello Matawalle awarded a contract to 180 Circle Engineering Construction and Engineering LTD. The contract was to construct a catering and hotel service centre (Gusau Motel) in Gusau. The total cost of the contract was N1,149,288,084.25.
“On August 7th, 2020, Bello Matawalle approved the payment of mobilisation fees to the firm. The amount approved was N344,786,425.27. However, the contractor disappeared after receiving the payment and did not perform on-site work for a year. This action by Bello Matawalle was a gross violation of financial regulations.
“After a year, the contractor returned to the site but was instructed by the Ministry of Works to provide a written commitment not to repeat such behaviour. This incident indicates the type of leadership prevalent in a government like Matawalle’s.
“For the record, the public should take note of the following payments with the date of disbursements: On the 06 of July 2021, Bello Matawalle released the sum of N100,420,259.62 to 180 Circle Engineering Construction and Engineering LTD. On 27 August 2021, the construction firm received N257,060,936.72. On the 27th of August 2021, the Ministry of Finance paid N185,250,000.00 to the contractor.
“Furthermore, on the 24th of March 2022, the Ministry of Finance released the sum of N20,000,000.00 to 180 Circle Engineering Construction and Engineering LTD, totalling 1,011,801,545.79 billion Naira.
“Despite the illegal disbursement of the above funds to the contractor, construction of the multi-purpose hall, restaurant, laundry, badminton court, swimming pool, estate roads, soft and rugged landscape, external electrification, water reticulation, and perimeter fence has not yet commenced.
“N1,011,801,545.79 was certified and paid as per Ministry of Works and Transport valuation certificates, representing 93% of the total contract sum.
“It is worrisome to note that the contractor was overpaid the sum of 667,713,161.64 million Naira by Bello Matawalle and subsequently abandoned the project. The work done on-site, as presented in pictures, has been valued at N344,088,384.15, which represents 29.94% of the total progress.
“It goes against the principles of our government’s Rescue Mission and the trust placed in us by the people of Zamfara State to let financial misconduct go unpunished. We are committed to uncovering any actions that have breached the people’s trust and holding those responsible accountable. We are on a rescue mission!”