The Kwara State Government has assured that it will retrieve all state property illegally acquired by past administrators in the state.
Olabode Towoju, the state Commissioner for Communications, said this when he addressed members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the state council of Nigeria Union of Journalists in Ilorin on Tuesday.
Towoju said that the state legal team was working on plans to arraign all people found culpable in the illegal diversion of public property in a court of law.
He said: “We are being circumspect in pressing our charges, so that we will not lose on technical ground in the court, just like how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission lost in a case regarding our property at AbdulRasak Street in GRA, Ilorin.
“Most of the government property sold illegally were purchased in companies’ names and this is one of the reasons for losing that particular case.”
Towoju said that the state legal team was making contact with the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria towards retrieving the two property seized by the corporation from government over its inability to offset loans acquired for funding the Shonga farm project.
He said: “The fact is that AMCON knew that Kwara Government’s shares in Shonga Farm project is just 10 per cent and how can a 10 per cent shareholder be the owner?
“But AMCON deliberately held the state responsible because it knew that it is the only bigger body that can drag and get something from.
“Even the 10 per cent shares they claimed we have, the state never received a kobo as dividend since they commenced operation.
“The worst part was that out of the 13 plots of land they used as collateral to access that loans they later went back and sold nine and siphoned the money.
“Out of the remaining four, one is occupied by a company ‘valentine chicken’ and another one is being occupied by a Zimbabwean and he is leasing it out to Kwara northerners that are rightful owners of the land.”
Towoju was a member of the state committee that investigated illegal sales of government property at the beginning of the administration.
He said: “Some of the people that signed the papers of transfer of those government property to private companies on behalf of the state government are now directors and stakeholders in those companies today.
“They almost sold the Shopping Mall, located at Fate Road, too, if not for the legal team of the government under the present administration that quickly went there and pasted restraining order.”
The commissioner said that the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led administration would ensure that individuals found culpable were brought to book to serve as deterrent to others.
“Kwara state government will soon go after former government functionaries that were allegedly involved in public property mismanagement or found to have been involved in decisions and agreements that made them beneficiaries at the expense of the state,” he said.
He said that the government was examining white papers submitted by various committees with a view to prosecuting former government officials that were found to be culpable.
He added: “We believe that 197 plots of land belonging to the state government in Abuja were mismanaged by the past administrators.
“Some of those government property illegally acquired included Kwara Ethnix Designs Limited and a poultry farm in Oke-Oyi.”