The former governor of Plateau state and the senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, Jonah Jang, has been accused of illegally taking 15 vehicles belonging to the state.
The investigative committee put in place by Simon Lalong, the governor of the state, to investigate the hoarding of government vehicles by the previous administration, disclosed this on Tuesday, September 15, Leadership reports.
According to the committee, headed by Ezekiel Gomos, the former secretary to the Plateau state government (SSG), Jang and his wife, Talatu, were entitled to nine vehicles as approved by exco decision but Government House records showed that they had reclaimed 24 vehicles.
Submitting its report to Rufus Bature, the state SSG, Gomos explained that the 15 extra vehicles they took away contravened a policy put in place by the former governor.
He added that the governor had refused to return the vehicles even though he has been asked to do so.
Gomos explained further that the committee found that the number of vehicles hoarded based on state council approval was 191, while the number hoarded based on the former governor’s executive fiat were 32 and the number of vehicles taken away illegally without approval of the executive council was 24.
He stated that 30 vehicles had been recovered by the committee, while 28 former officers had refused to return their vehicles on the grounds that they were approved from the former governor, a decision Gomos says contravenes the state council’s decision.
The committee chairman said: “An atmosphere was created to give the impression that government vehicles were automatic part of the entitlements of anyone working with the governor, upon exit of office.
“This is encouraging all manners of persons including personal aides and domestic helps to go away with such vehicles. This was accentuated by the rash of approvals given by the former governor to such aides immediately it was clear that a new administration was coming into office.”
The committee suggested that legal action be taken as all efforts to recover the vehicles has proved abortive.
Receiving the committee report on behalf of Governor Lalong, Bature commended them for doing a good job, saying their efforts will not be in vain.
When contacted, the media aide to the former governor said Jang and his wife were currently out of the country and he would respond appropriately to the allegations.
However, he said it was clear the All Progressives Congress government were bent on tarnishing Jang’s image.
Jang, who handed over to Lalong on May 29 was said to have lied in his handover note details that the state’s debt profile was in the region of N103 billion naira.
In August, a 12-man transition committee investigating the alleged embezzlement of public funds by the past administration had disclosed that the Jang administration incurred a debt of N222.3 billion.
Governor Lalong had given all government officials accused of misuse of public funds in the Jang administration, two weeks to either return the money or face prosecution.