Chris Steven, Abuja
An anti corruption group, Initiative for Transparency (TI) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the Benue state government to find out what it did with its share of all revenues accruing to the state.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, convener of the group, Pastor Samson Ayodele explained that under the guise of tackling the crisis in the state, the state government has increased sharp practices to ruin the state and subject the people to pains, sorrow and hunger.
He accused the state government of using the security challenges as a front for diverting public funds, stressing that the state is basically bankrupt to a point that it will descend into crisis once a solution is gotten to the killings.
According to him, the state government has been unable to account for the huge amount of the Paris Club refunds as well as ecological fund which accrued to the state.
He said despite the huge resources, the state government has been unable to pay workers their salaries and also unable to tackle the security challenges.
He said, “we make this demand because there is credible information that the EFCC has all the evidence it needs to prove that Ortom has stolen another N18.8 billion, which the reason Benue workers cannot get salaries as at when due. It is the reason the state can never witness any positive development under the present administration of Samuel Ortom and his band of thieves.”
Besides, Ayodele charged the Federal Government to take the necessary steps to stop further release of funds, especially the ones that can be withheld, to the Ortom administration until a prudent regime is in place in Benue state as any additional funds released will end up like the N18.8 that went into private pockets.
He said further, “it is on the strength of the foregoing that we have found imperative to expose the Ortom administration as a cesspit of corruption that it is. it is on this basis that we demand that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should step to the plate and do its work as things would have taken an irreversible turn should the Commission wait till the governor’s tenure is up for him to lose his immunity.
“Immunity did not stop the courts from granting EFCC’s request to freeze the bank account that Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose used to receive alleged proceeds of corruption so Benue state cannot be different. Even while Ortom’s immunity subsists, his aides that have no immunity and facilitated the theft of state money should immediately be tried for their roles.”
He said the he EFCC is presently investigating the governor for this fresh N18.830 billion which was withdrawn on his behalf by the trio of Oliver Mtom, Aorga Emmanuel and Ochoga Peter.
According to him, the three suspects confessed to the EFCC two weeks ago that they truly withdrew the huge funds for the governor from Benue State accounts with UBA, GTB and First Bank.