Hostilities in Katsina State between ex-governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of the PDP and Governor Aminu Bello Masari of the APC surfaced shortly after the handing over formalities. The incumbent who was a PDP member before defecting to the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), one of the parties that merged to form the APC, announced immediately on assumption of office that he met an empty treasury and a debt of N42 billion.
He accused Shema of wastes and mismanagement of resources in some critical sectors. Masari raise four committees to probe the 8-year tenure of his predecessor, focusing on key sectors – the Katsina State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Katsina State Road Maintenance Agency (KASROMA), MDGs/SURE-P and the Department of Girl-Child Education and Child Development.
Part of the assignment of the committees was to ascertain the location and status of projects executed between 2011 and 2015, to determine whether or not funds earmarked for the said projects were judiciously allocated and economically used.
Masari said the committee was not for witch-hunt, but was borne out of the desire to set the records of government activities straight. Besides, the governor noted that reports available to him showed that Shema left a debt of N42 billion, a shortfall of N13 billion in federation allocations, N15 billion in foreign debts, including arrears owed pensioners at the local government level.
But the former governor described the probe as a witch-hunt meant to taint his reputation. He said that aside ensuring that he left no uncompleted project, he left N4 billion in the state treasury and ensured that no worker was owed salary.
Shema insisted that his administration did not borrow money throughout his tenure and therefore, did not leave debts behind, adding that he disbursed N8.5 billion to all the local governments shortly before handing over on May 29, 2015.
Fast forward, The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Katsina State Government have dragged former Governor of Katsina State, Barrister Ibrahim Shehu Shema and three others to the Katsina High Court where they were accused of embezzling N11 billion.
A press statement made available to THISDAY in Katsina late December, 2016 signed by Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Malam Abdu Labaran Malumfashi stated that they were accused of embezzlement of funds belonging to the 34 local government councils in the state.
The statement revealed that, Joined in the 22 count charge suit were the erstwhile chairman of Kaita Local Government Council and Chairman of the Katsina State chapter of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), Alhaji Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba.
Others were the immediate past commissioner of the ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Alhaji Sani Hamisu Makana and the Permanent Secretary of the same ministry, Alhaji Lawal Rufa’i Safana.
In the charge, FRN vs Ibrahim Shehu Shema, Sani Hamisu Makana, Lawal Rufa’i and Ibrahim Lawal Dankaba, the four are facing 22 counts charge.
It said Count 1 conspiracy, counts 2 to 8, breach of trust and conversion of the sum of N11,255,043,920, counts 9 and 10 forgery of minutes of meetings, count 11 abatement of forgery and counts 12 to 22 using forged documents as genuine.