A German contractor and businessman, Richard Klosa, has accused the Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari, of bankrupting his company, Connexx Plants Nigeria Ltd., through an alleged debt of N179.5m.
The German claimed to have supplied Zamfara State with radio studio equipment but had not been paid for the supply and installation since February 2013.
Klosa,64, who broke down in tears while narrating his ordeal on Tuesday in Abuja, said he had visited Zamfara State 17 times without seeing the governor or getting paid for the executed contract for which a ac of completion was issued.
As a result of the financial mess he found himself, the German, who said he has been living in Nigeria since 1971, explained that he developed heart problems in January this year.
According to him, the then Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Muhammad, who mandated his company to go ahead with the project, issued a letter of commitment promising that payment would be made immediately after the inauguration of the radio station.
The German citizen said he obtained a loan and completed the project in record time on May 28, 2013, noting that Muhammad praised him for a job well done while the Special Media Adviser to the governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Dosara, also declared the radio station ‘as the best in the whole of Nigeria’.
“Thereafter, I constantly reminded the information commissioner of the balance payment due to us until I received a text message from him saying, ‘I am frustrated.’ It made me to understand that I had to take it up with the governor myself,” Klosa stated.
He narrated that he started writing letters and also attempted to see Yari in Gusau, Sokoto, Kano and in Abuja, but the governor allegedly refused to meet him.
Klosa added, “Two years after the inauguration of the radio station, our German technical partners, MCI Studio, Hamburg, lost confidence in us as we were owing them approximately €161,000 plus interest as balance payment form the Zamfara project and they took us to court.
“By way of reaching a compromise, we raised a notarised debt acknowledgement which made them to withdraw the case from court.”
Klosa stated that he had sought the assistance of the Ministers of Information, Defence and the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other high-ranking government officials, including the German embassy in Abuja, which wrote to the governor without results.
He added that he has been unable to pay his office rent in Abuja for the last three years and workers’ salaries for two years, noting that the Federal Inland Revenue Service had been on his neck over outstanding taxes.
“We had to close our German office in April this year and German friends who also granted us loans to sustain our lives are now demanding their money. We have suffered total loss of reputation both in Germany and Nigeria,” he said.
“In a nutshell, Governor Yari has ruined my entire business and our private life,” Klosa lamented.
The contractor said he could not take legal action against the governor because he had no money besides the fact that the suit would likely drag on for years.
Klosa appealed for acting President Yemi Osinbajo’s intervention, stressing that his suffering in the hands of the Chairman of the Governors’ Forum would not encourage German businessmen to invest in the country.
When contacted, Dosara declined comment, saying our correspondent should visit Zamafara and see the project first.
“I am not commenting until you visit Zamfara and see the quality of job he (Klosa) did; that is when I will give you our response,” he said on the phone.