OrderPaperToday – The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Gombe State Governor on Media and Publicity, Mr. Ismaila Misilli has dismissed reports making the round that the State government is witch- hunting the immediate past administration over sale of properties worth millions of naira belonging to state.
Recall that the current administration on assumption of office had set up a committee headed by Mr. Peter Bilal to investigate the process in which some assets were auctioned under the immediate past governor, Mr. Ibrahim Damkwambo.
The committee checked and found out that due process was not followed and in its recommendation, asked those who had collected public properties of whatever kind to return them. This decision has generated bad blood leading to some loyalists of the former governor accusing the current governor of high handedness.
However, a statement released by the Gombe state SSA said: “It has become pertinent to put the records straight, my boss, Governor Inuwa Yahaya was massively voted for across the 11 local government councils of the State and he enjoys the love of residents cut across. So, we don’t understand why the fact-finding effort would be perceived as witch-hunting.
“The point is if you are given a responsibility to take care of an assignment in any capacity as a chairman, governor, president, it is imperative that you do an all-round check to ascertain the level of inadequacies. This is exactly what this committee is trying to do by asking a few questions since it is on record that brand new cars were purchased and auctioned before our assumption.
“We are all citizens of Gombe State. It is about asking fundamental questions about the whereabouts of the vehicles that the committee discovered to be in possession of a few individuals. Where in the world will you carry five vehicles worth over N300m auctioned to one person (yourself) at N12m, thereby leaving the current governor’s convoy with old and rickety vehicles? Those that are complaining are those that are beneficiaries of his largese.
“One of those that are crying wolf quietly sent the vehicle back to us because he does not want to be embarrassed and he is busy encouraging others not to return theirs. Some complained that until they are paid gratuity, they cannot release theirs. We are talking about brand new cars. Go and check the value of those cars, their market value and the amount they were disposed of to the cronies of the previous administration.
“I will also like to clarify that ours is just a committee and not a court so for any group of persons going about saying we have tagged the past administration as corrupt then it is not true because it is within the purview of a competent court of law and other relevant agencies to determine. The government is only asking simple and clear questions.
So, In fact, most of the auctioned assets, especially the cars were still brand new, I don’t know the part of the world where new things are auctioned at ridiculous amount. Across the globe, property will not just be auctioned without genuine reasons. However, it will not be fair for anyone to assume or interpret that we are saying they were corrupt as that is not for us to say. That is left for the court to determine in due course”.