In an effort by the Sokoto State government to cover up the fact it gave N700 million from Paris Club refund money to the Sultan of Sokoto, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Bashir Garba, published a purported 2016 bid to purchase a Guest House in Abuja for the Sultanate Council.
In the memo, signed on November 24, 2016 and sent to Gov. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal for approval, the SSG wrote that the Sultanate Council expressed the need for a guest house in Abuja, “to defray the government of accommodation and ensure convenience of His Eminence and entourage while in Abuja for sundry official engagements.”
In the bid, three houses were listed as properties considered for purchase. The houses listed were Alawo Close, off Lake Chad (to which no house number was given), valued at N700million; Plot No 1355 Cadastral Zone, A05, Maitama District, N750million; and No 16, Ontario Crescent, Off Mississippi Street, Maitama, N650 million.
Saharareporters investigation shows that 16 Ontario Crescent, Maitama property that was purportedly chosen from the fake bid might be owned by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’adu Abubakar, for whom it was purportedly being purchased.
Sources close to the Sultan told Saharareporters that the Sultan had lived in a mansion on Ontario street for upwards of 10 years and had always stayed there whenever he visited Abuja. The massive house, which is about the size of some embassies, is on an exclusive street which often has police checkpoints, and on which vehicles are not allowed to stop.
According to our investigations, Realtors estimate the value of the house to be over N3 billion naira. On the fabricated bid however, the Sokoto State government put the value of the house at N650 million, N50m lower than the Alawo Close house price.
Although the bid for the house was for N650m, according to the Sokoto state government, the government began making suspicious payments from the Paris Club refunds recently released to states into the account of the Sultan’s Chief of Staff, Kabiru Tafida, the Sarkin Fada of Sokoto who company was reportedly serving as intermediary between the state government and the company the state memo claimed had bid for the house on Ontario. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said they arrested and interrogated the Chief of Staff to the Sultan after its Financial and Intelligence Unit found suspicious transactions between the Sokoto State government and the Chief of Staff.
The Sokoto state government could not explain why, if true, it did not pay the funds directly to Fawad Nigeria Ltd, the company that purportedly won the bid to provide what it claimed was a befitting “office and Guest House” for the Sultan in Abuja.
When Saharareporters contacted the Special Adviser to the Sokoto state government on Media, Imam Imam, he admitted that the Sultan was already living at 19 Ontario Crescent by claimed he was “renting” the property and that the new property was purchased from, Senator Abba Aji, a former adviser to late President Umaru Yar’adua
However, our source disputed the assertion saying the Sultan owned the property and other properties in the swanky neighborhood and that he also owns Fawad Nigeria Ltd the company that submitted the purported bid.