Ex-Governor and Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle has been accused by the Zamfara State government of mishandling over 1 billion Naira in an unfinished Gusau hotel project.
The revelation came from a statement released on Wednesday in Gusau by Sulaiman Bala, the Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the current Zamfara governor.
According to the statement, the immediate past governor authorized a payment of 1,011,801,545.79 billion Naira to 180 Circle Construction & Engineering Ltd. for the construction of Gusau Motel, a project that remained incomplete.
Furthermore, the Zamfara State government asserts that Matawalle overpaid the contractor by N667,713,161.64 million.
The statement below;
“In the spirit of transparency, the Zamfara State Government considers it its duty to unveil the numerous questionable projects initiated by the preceding administration of Bello Matawalle, with the intent of misusing state funds.
“On July 16, 2020, the former administration of Bello Matawalle awarded a contract to 180 Circle Construction and Engineering LTD. The contract aimed to construct a catering and hotel service centre (Gusau Motel) in Gusau.
“The total cost of the contract amounted to N1,149,288,084.25.
“On August 7, 2020, Bello Matawalle approved the payment of mobilization fees to the firm, totalling N344,786,425.27. However, the contractor vanished after receiving the payment and only commenced on-site work for a year, a clear breach of financial regulations.
“After a year, the contractor returned to the site but was required by the Ministry of Works to provide a written commitment not to repeat such misconduct. This incident sheds light on the type of governance that existed under Matawalle’s leadership.
“For the record, it’s essential to note the following payments and their disbursement dates: On July 6, 2021, Bello Matawalle disbursed N100,420,259.62 to 180 Circle Construction and Engineering LTD. On August 27, 2021, the construction firm received N257,060,936.72. On August 27, 2021, the Ministry of Finance transferred N185,250,000.00 to the contractor.
“Furthermore, on March 24, 2022, the Ministry of Finance released N20,000,000.00 to 180 Circle Construction and Engineering LTD, summing up to 1,011,801,545.79 billion Naira.
“Despite the irregular disbursement of the mentioned funds to the contractor, work on 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 begun.
“N1,011,801,545.79 was certified and paid based on Ministry of Works and Transport valuation certificates, representing 93% of the total contract amount.
“It’s deeply concerning that Bello Matawalle overpaid the contractor by 667,713,161.64 million Naira, leading to the project’s abandonment. The work completed on-site, as evidenced by pictures, has been appraised at N344,088,384.15, corresponding to 29.94% of the overall progress.
“This 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!”