Amid an ongoing impeachment uproar, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has come out to accuse Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State of fraud to the tune of N22 billion.
According to Punch, this allegation is contained in a report of an investigation which began in 2016 but was released to their correspondent yesterday.
The report states that the governor, between June 30, 2015 and March 2018 ordered the withdrawal of N21.3 billion from four accounts belonging to the state government in three banks.
See excerpts from the EFCC report released to Punch:
We investigated four bank accounts belonging to two Benue State Government’s agencies. The first agency is the Benue State Government House which has an account in UBA with number 1017348051 and another account in GTB with number 0027952907. These accounts received N 1, 916, 635, 206 from the state’s allocation between June 30, 2015 and March 2018.
”The second government agency is the Bureau of Internal Affairs and Special Services. The agency has an account with UBA with number 1007540119 and a First Bank account with number 2023788057. Between the same period, the accounts were credited with N19, 468, 951, 590 from the Benue State allocation.
Investigations revealed that N 19 billion was withdrawn by one Oliver Ntom, a cashier. Sometimes, in a day, he would withdraw as high as N500 million by cashing several cheques worth N 10 million each.
The permanent secretary upon interrogation said anytime security agencies requested funds, he would approach Governor Ortom who would ask him to write a memo to that effect. The permanent secretary would write and the governor would approve the money.
The permanent secretary said the funds are usually given to six security agencies. He said the highest that any security agency gets is N10 million a month while the least any of the agencies gets is N 5 million a month.
He said after the money has been released, the governor usually orders that the memo be torn to pieces. It is important to note that if a total of N 60 million is given to all the security agencies collectively every month as claimed by the permanent secretary, it cannot amount to half of N 19 billion in three years.
Punch further reports that EFCC has also invited 21 out of the 30 lawmakers in the Benue State House of Assembly for allegedly diverting part of the N375 million meant for the procurement of vehicles in 2016.
The impeachment notice served on the governor and this accusation from the anti-graft agency are coming after the governor’s defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Read the rest of the report Here.