A Civil Society Advocacy Group for Accountability and Probity has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to launch an investigation into the alleged disbursement of N6.78 billion to the contractor responsible for the Gusau International Cargo Airport’s construction. The alleged recipient of these funds is the former Zamfara State Governor and Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle,Daily Trust report.
Danesi Momoh, the National Coordinator of the group, conveyed this appeal during a press conference held in Abuja on a Sunday. He expressed astonishment at the reported payment of N6.78 billion, which purportedly occurred when the project was only 19.47% complete, and where an estimated N2.25 billion had been expended for a venture initially valued at N11 billion.
The group maintained that, contrary to assertions that payments for the airport project were predicated on certificates endorsed by overseeing ministries or agencies, their records indicated that all disbursements made during Matawalle’s tenure did not align with an accurate appraisal of the work accomplished nor receive the certification of supervising ministries.
In response to these allegations, Ibrahim Dosara, a spokesperson for Matawalle, issued a statement refuting the claims, characterizing them as groundless attempts to besmirch the former governor’s reputation. Dosara explained that Matawalle had inherited the airport project contract from his predecessor and had chosen to proceed with it, as he believed it was in the best interest of the state to unlock its potential.
Furthermore, Dosara clarified that the project had been financed through a “contract financing” arrangement, involving the Zamfara State government and private companies, in cooperation with funding banks. These banks released funds only upon verifying that government-issued certificates corresponded with the work performed on-site. Additionally, Dosara noted that essential components such as access roads, gates, drainage systems, and other necessary infrastructure had already been completed, with a comprehensive environmental assessment conducted by the Federal Ministry of Aviation.