A Civil Society Advocacy Group for Accountability and Probity has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the alleged payment of N6.78 billion to the contractor handling the construction of Gusau International Cargo Airport by the former Zamfara State Governor and Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle.
The group’s National Coordinator, Danesi Momoh, made the call at a press conference in Abuja on Sunday.
He said it was ridiculous that the contractor was allegedly paid N6.78bn at just 19.47% completion and spending an equivalent to only N2.25 billion for a project worth N11 billion.
The group said contrary to claims that payments for the airport project were made based on certificates issued by supervising ministries or agencies, records had shown that all payments made under Matawalle were allegedly not based on an accurate assessment of work done nor certified by the supervising ministries.
However, Matawalle’s spokesperson, Ibrahim Dosara, in a statement debunked the allegations, describing them as baseless and attempts to tarnish the image of the former governor who he said acted in the best interest of the state.
He stated that Matawalle inherited the airport project contract from his predecessor and resolved to go ahead with it as it was in the best interest of the state to open up its potential.
He added that the project was funded through “Contract financing” – an agreement between the Zamfara State government and some private companies involving funding banks – in which the banks released money only on satisfaction that certificates raised by the government are commensurate with works done on site.
He added that access roads, gates, drainages and some other needed infrastructure had been completed with an environment assessment by the Federal Ministry of Aviation carried out and completed.