Facts have continued to emerge as to how the immediate past two administrations of Dr. Bukola Saraki and Alh. Abdulfatai Ahmed illegally shared choice properties to cronies between 2003 and 2019.
No fewer than 197 housing units out of the 410 owned by Kwara State were allegedly sold to politicians unlawfully by the previous governments according to investigation by freshinsightnewstv.com.
It would be recalled Gov. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq upon swearing-in had constituted an investigative committee, headed by Senator Sulaiman Ajadi, to probe the alleged mismanagement of government owned properties between 1999 to 2019.
He during a media parley marking gis first 100 days in office bemoaned that over 90 properties built with public funds were unlawfully appropriated by some officials of the past administrations.
He said “Senator Ajadi’s committee did a very good job; they submitted two preliminary reports and we’re waiting for the final report. It is unfortunate that from my little reading of it so far, people just shared government properties as if they were their fiefdom; they did not even think for one second that it was government property.”
Meanwhile, according to an highly placed government source, who spoke with freshinsightnewstv.com on a condition of anonymity, gives insight into the preliminary report submitted by the Ajadi-led committee, said “168 government quarters, made up of three-bedroomed flats with boys’ quarters in the Government Reserved Area were sold to politicians at a rock-bottom price of N5m each while those without boys’ quarters were sold for N4m each.
It was learnt that the 29 units of three-bedroomed detached bungalow at the Kwara State Parliamentary Village, meant to house the members of the state House of Assembly, were sold at N2,303,540 each.
The sum was said to be 50 per cent of the market value of the property while the Speaker’s lodge was given out at N4.206m representing 50 per cent of the market value..
Another property was a 5 bedroom bungalow at Catchment Road, GRA, which served as the official residence of a director of Harmony Properties, a State owned choice property management outfit.
The property, which was valued at N33m, was sold to a director at N15m, less than 50 per cent of the market value of the property. The sale was said to have been without the approval of the board of the company
freshinsightnewstv.com reliably gathered that although all the properties were sold at very cheap prices, the buyers did not pay for them in full, as at the time if the investigation.
The source further said, “Though the property at Catchment Road in GRA was sold to a Director of Harmony Properties Limited at N15m, the buyer only paid N1.5m and started demolishing the building. Since then, nothing else was paid.”
freshinsightnewstv.com investigation revealed that prominent top ranking officials under the Dr. Bukola Saraki and Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed, ranging from Commissioners, Secretary to the State Government, Chief of Staff, party chieftains, board chairmen, local government Chairmen, Permanent Secretaries among others.
On the quarters at the Legislative quarters along Irewolede road, sold to members of the 7th State Assembly, led by Rt. Hon. Speaker, Rasak Atunwa, who incidentally was the Peoples Democratic Party’s gubernatorial candidate in the 2019 polls, the source noted that even though the approved sales value was ridiculous, majority of the beneficiaries did not pay for the quarters in full.
The report stated, “The sale was not transparent and it was counter-productive, therefore, government should adopt the recommendation in the first valuation report, which indicated the open market value. The beneficiaries should be given six months to pay the outstanding balance including the difference recommended.
“And if the beneficiaries default after the six months, the sale of the property should be revoked and offered to interested buyers.”
freshinsightnewstv.com investigation showed that prominent among the members of the 7th Assembly who benefited from the sales include Hon. Hassan Oyeleke, Hon. Tope Olayonu (both from Offa LG), Hon. Ebun Owolabi (Emit LG), Hon. Nimota Ibrahim (Ilorin East LG), Hon. Ilyasu Ibrahim (Moro LG), Hon. Sikira Anako and Hon. Lateef Fagbemi (Oyun LG) among others.
The source noted the report also recommended that the 5 bedroom bungalow at Catchment Road, GRA, which was sold to a director at N15m, should be retrieved immediately from the director that bought it.
According to the report, another property that irked the governor was the Amusement Park, a government recreation centre in Ilorin, the state capital, which was sold to a company for N100m. The committee recommended that the government should refund the money to the buyer and remodel it for its primary purpose “as it remains the only all encompassing recreation centre that the state can boast of.”
The report also cited the Shonga Farm Holdings, which was initiated in 2004 by the administration of Dr Bukola Saraki as the governor of the state. The state was said to have brought in 13 Zimbabwean farmers, acquired 17,000 hectares of land compulsorily from 33 villages and spent “a lot of money on the farmers”, including provision of houses and take-off grants in foreign currency for them, among other welfare packages.
The state was also said to have guaranteed loan of N650m for them with the Nigerian Agricultural and Cooperative and Rural Development Bank. However, when the farm could not repay the loan, the sum of N1,184,369,818.48 was said to have been deducted from the state’s allocation to repay the loan.
The report also cited Oke Oyi Poultry Farm, established by the state Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, but was mismanaged, leased and sold to a private establishment at a give-away price.
The report noted further that the state’s landed property in choice areas of Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna and Ilorin had allegedly been shared by politicians and public office holders who served the state in the last two administrations.