A Senator from Taraba State, Emmanuel Bwacha, has claimed he spent N50 million on the perimeter fencing of a police station in the Takum Local Government Area of the state.
According to documents released by Tracka and BudgIT, Bwacha claimed the fencing of the police station was executed through direct labour, at the cost of N50 million.
Many residents of the area however said the cost of the project was grossly inflated.
Some members of his constituency, under the umbrella of Interested Residents of Southern Taraba, has asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to probe several zonal intervention projects under the senator between 2017 and 2020.
The group said several funds for constituency projects in the districts were embezzled by Bwacha and the executing contractors whom are the lawmaker’s cronies.
They said some of the projects were also criminally diverted and not executed for the people of the constituency whom the intervention project was meant to benefit.
“From the available records obtained from Tracka and BudgIT, both organisations who are in charge of monitoring and documenting projects funded by the federal and state governments, it is glaring that some projects running to several billions of naira said to have been executed and delivered in Southern Taraba Senatorial District are not true,” Muhammad Bala Idris, chairman of the group said in a 15-page petition to the EFCC.
“They are diverted, abandoned at certain percentages of work or not executed at all (in many instances), despite being paid for.
“These were done in connivance with Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, who has the statutory responsibility of monitoring and implementations of these zonal intervention projects, thus short-changing the people these projects were intended to benefit.
“It was shocking to discover that since 2017 till 2020, many of the zonal intervention projects approved and funded for Taraba South Senatorial District were diverted and converted into private properties.
“We want the EFCC to investigate other intervention projects not executed like, the procurement of pick-up vans for security patrol which about N100 million was budgeted and released for in 2019.
“This project was partially implemented as most of the vehicles were diverted and given to traditional rulers. Currently no security agency in the Southern Zone has received any vehicle for security patrol from the agency or contractor saddled with the responsibility of implementing this project.
“Also the contract inflation of constituency projects by Senator Bwacha and his cronies, prominent among them is the fencing of Takum Divisional Police Headquarters, through direct labour said to have cost N50 million; we believe this should be thoroughly investigated.
“We also want your agency to investigate financial breakdown of the multi-million naira projects that were captured in years 2017 and 2018 budget for Biotech Resources Center at Tunari and who are the contractors? Over these years, there are multiple provisions labelled as empowerment programmes, which do not have a direct impact on the citizens and by their very nature are also highly prone to fraud as the disbursement is at the discretion of the officials.
“A typical example is where empowerment and peace sensitisation programmes for unidentified women gulped a whopping sum of over N100 million only. In this instance, despite the allocation of fund, the programme never held ‘due to security reasons’.
“While many of these deliberate acts of fleecing public funds continue in the name of constituency projects from 2017 to 2020, we have attached to this petition, a list of Zonal Intervention Projects under Senator Emmanuel Bwacha with their status of projects as obtained from Tracka/BudgIT to aid your investigation.”