The Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle has denied using proxies to withdraw cash from the bank accounts linked to the State Government.
The governor said he had invited the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate all his private and official property in order to clear his name from the financial misappropriation levelled against him.
In a statement issued on Thursday by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Enlightenment and Media, Alhaji Zailani Bappa, the governor said he had never been involved in payment of salaries in cash.
SaharaReporters had on November 21, 2022, published the details of how cash was transferred into individual's bank accounts from different state government agencies.
In the documents exclusively obtained, several suspicious cash and transfer transactions were made, involving the accounts considered to have no socio-economic advantage to the state. The transactions were frequent fund transfers and subsequent cash withdrawals that disguised the true beneficiary of funds.
It was gathered that between January 2019 to August 2020, the total value of the suspicious transactions reports (STRs) filed on the 8 accounts is N8, 345, 840, 600 (eight billion, three hundred and fifty-four million, four hundred and eighty thousand, six hundred Naira)
But the state government in its response said, “You will recall that a certain online medium (although we learnt it is not based in Nigeria, nonetheless, draws its audience mainly in Nigeria) has sometimes back reported that three governors were accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission of syphoning state wealth and hoarding same in some of their property in Abuja and elsewhere.
"The story alleged that these three governors were planning to use the illegally acquired money to pay salaries by cash in order to avoid being trapped by the new policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria regarding the introduction of new currency notes.
"Gentlemen of the Press, it is instructive to note that upon these baseless allegations as published by this medium, His Excellency, Dr Bello Mohammed immediately wrote to the EFCC through his legal Attorney and gave his willingness to allow the anti-graft body access into all his private and official property in order to clear his name from, especially, the EFCC allegation.
"His Excellency took this bold step in spite of the fact that our investigation confirmed that the following story by that medium which mentioned his name among the three accused governors did not actually emanate from the EFCC as claimed. Moreover, no salaries were paid in cash by Zamfara State Governor as it has never done that in the past and has no intention to do that either now or in the future.
"As we allowed this to lie down, just yesterday, the same medium published another story accusing His Excellency's administration of syphoning the wealth of Zamfara people through multiple bank transfers and cash withdrawals. The medium went ahead to mention names, mobile numbers and National Identification numbers of the supposed officers who aided the administration to syphon the alleged monies.
"At this juncture, His Excellency, Dr Bello Mohammed wishes to once again, invite the EFCC to investigate these allegations.”