Mahdi, Katsina govt disagrees on security funds

A Kaduna based businessman, Alhaji Muhammad Shehu Mahdi has accused the Katsina state government of misappropriation of the state’s security funds.

The Katsina State government denied the allegations, saying due process was followed in the disbursement of the security funds.

Mahdi who is also the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer of Dialogue Group Limited and an indigene of Katsina State said he had petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to investigate the Katsina state government over alleged misappropriation of the state’s security funds from 2015.

He also called on Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina state to resign his position due to his failure to protect the people from banditry and also sack the Secretary to the State Government, Mustapha Inuwa from his position as the chairman of the state security committee.

Daily Trust on Sunday could not get copies of the petitions as Mahdi was yet to reply a text message sent to his phone. The businessman had recently in a press briefing accused the State government of reckless spending of funds it withdrew from the state security account.

Mahdi had alleged in a radio programme in Kaduna that the Katsina state government spent N24 billion on security from funds it withdrew from two bank accounts in Fidelity and UBA without due process from 2015 -2019.

Mahdi also alleged that N684 million was spent in four years under the present administration to pay policemen guarding Lambar Rimi adding that the sum of N500,000 million was withdrawn to purchase mobile phones and another N870 million used to buy another set of phones for security personnel attached to the Government House.

Denying the allegations, Secretary to the Government of Katsina State, Dr Mustapha Muhammed Inuwa at a news briefing in Katsina said his committee was established during the administration of late Umaru Musa Yar’adua in which the state and local government make quarterly contributions.

“The state government gives N150 million every quarterly while the local government gives N5million making the total fund received from the 34 LGA’s as N170million quarterly.”

“This has been the tradition since Governor Umaru’s administration and that of Shema. Nothing has changed on how funds from the account are disbursed.

“The funds are not only used for security matters alone, but it’s also used for other works too, and when we came on board, we contributed N640 million in six months from July to December 2015,” he said.

“It should be noted that there are certain allowances which we inherited such as ‘operation Mesa, Sharan Danji’ etc. All these we inherited them and we continue to give. Even though we reduced some.

“It is also a known fact that in states, security agencies are given support in terms of repairing their vehicles and it’s from the same account. It’s from N6.4 billion but in Mahdi’s statement he alleged that N40 billion was spent,” he clarified.

On the Lambar Rimi allegations, the Commissioner said, “on 22 September 2011 it was requested by the then administration that they needed policemen to guard the area and the then commissioner of police requested for N1 million but was given only N641, 000 up until June 2014.”

“The last money given was in August 2017. From August 2015 to August 2017, N400, 066 was paid for 25 months. And the total was N12.66 billion.”

The state house of assembly has commenced an investigation into the matter following receipt of complaints from civil society organisations.