The Nigeria Governors’ Forum has said the Governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Abdulaziz Yari, has no property in Lagos State.
The NGF also stated that its chairman, Yari, had no link with the controversial $3m worth of hotel in the state.
The NGF, stated this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
The NGF was responding to an interim forfeiture order by a Federal High Court that the sums of N500m and $500,000 said to have been looted from the Paris Club loan refunds given to the 36 states by the Federal Government.
The sums of money were said to have been recovered from two companies which were allegedly linked to Yari.
The companies are First Generation Mortgage Bank Limited and Gosh Projects Limited.
The EFCC alleged that the sums of money were fraudulently diverted from the NGF’s bank account on the instruction of Yari.
The anti-graft agency also alleged in an affidavit filed in support of its ex party motion before the court, that the N500m was diverted to offset Yari’s personal loan obtained from the First Generation Mortgage Bank Limited.
Apart from that, the commission also alleged that the second firm, Gosh Projects Limited, utilised most of the proceeds of the alleged loot transferred to it for the purchase of building materials for Yari’s 100-room hotel project in Lagos State.
But in the statement, which was signed by Head, Media and Public Affairs of the NGF, Mr. Abdulrazaque Barkindo, Yari accused the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, of engaging in what he described as “shadow-boxing.”
Barkindo said that the chairman of the forum had told the commission on many occasions that he neither owned any hotel nor any property in Lagos State.
In Barkindo’s defence statement, Yari did not state whether he had any relationship with any of the two companies or not.
The statement partly read, “…Yari had denied any links with a $3m hotel in Lagos which some online media attributed to him and in fact sued the publications responsible for that insidious report for libel. But for want of scapegoats in its battle against the National Assembly, the EFCC continues to drag the governor’s name in the mud in a veiled effort to divert attention from the matters of the moment.
“The NGF therefore urges the public to note that this is not about any missing funds anymore as the NGF would like to categorically emphasise that it did not, at any material time, receive any funds from the Paris London refunds on behalf of any state.”
He added that the states funds were remitted to them directly from the federation accounts by the Ministry of Finance.
Barkindo added that, what the NGF received was monies due to the consortium of consultants who he said verified the amounts due to all the states that were owed.
He added, “Furthermore, the NGF would like to state that its involvement with the Paris-London Club refunds had saved the states colossal amounts of money individually and collectively because instead of the high percentages agreed upon by the individual states to their separate consultants, the NGF drew the percentages down to two per cent which was paid to the consortium.
“Before then states had agreed to pay consultants between 10 and 30 per cent as commission for recovering the over-deductions.
“It is however understandable that in the absence of a fall guy, the EFCC has consistently maligned the person of the Zamfara State Governor and Chairman of the NGF, Abdulaziz Yari Abubakar, even when the need to so do was untenable, ridiculous and absent.”
He said that the acting chairman of the commission should look elsewhere for his “real or imagined enemies and allow Yari to face the enormous task of governing his state and leading the governors of Nigeria.