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By: Barr Mike Utsaha

There's been a regrettable dearth of credible & authentic information regarding the Leadership & some members of the Benue State House of Assembly BSHoA & their current 'relationship' with the the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission EFCC.
Under such circumstances it's easy for misinformation, & needless mischievous propaganda to contest for space with the reality, & in some cases to stand the truth on its head. This is precisely what has happened in this situation.
But here is the undiluted, verifiable truth regarding this situation:
1. NO PRIMA FACIE CASE: Till now there's been no prima facie case of embezzlement or misappropriation established against any member of the BSHoA. It is precisely for this reason that none of the members has been arrainged before any court of law. The EFCC as an agency is equally aware that there's nothing to take to court, worse still, that there is no chance whatsoever to sustain a conviction.
2. A POSSIBLE BREACH OF PROCEDURE: What, it does appear, has been established is a possible breach of procedure. The Benue State Government had awarded a contract for the supply of Prado Jeeps to the members of the BSHoA, unfortunately at the stage of execution the actual cost of the vehicle was slightly higher than the contract sum. Rather than return to the State Government for an upward review members opted to receive cash in lieu of the vehicles. And this is the crux of the matter!
3. BNSG IS NOT THE COMPLAINANT IN THIS CASE: Ideally, it should have been the BNSG complaining to EFCC that a contract it awarded had been varied without recourse to it, but this isn't the case. Obviously EFCC acted based on a private petition, not against the leadership or members of the BSHoA but against the contractor, & it's in the course of investigation that the members had to be brought in as beneficiaries of a contract varied without recourse to appropriate procedure.
4. APC & PDP MEMBERS ALIKE ARE INVOLVED: The impression sought to be created that only the leadership of the House & APC members are involved in this imbroglio is also erroneous. A total of twenty-two members of the House are caught up in this mess, while 8 of them are APC the remaining 14 are actually PDP legislators.
None of the members caught up in this situation received more than N11M from the contractor. Now, multiply that sum by the 22 members involved & the entire sum comes to a little over N300M. So, any reference to N750M, or indeed any other sum, is just mischievious propaganda for which the opposition in Benue is now well known for.
Heavy weather has been made out of the agreement to refund the respective sums of money received by the 22 members, with some mischievous propaganda elements likening it to an admission of guilt, but nothing could be farthest from the truth.
The idea of a refund is to enable BNSG to revoke the contract in question & re-award another at the prevailing market price of the vehicles in question. We are keeping our fingers crossed & watching to ensure that every single kobo returned to the EFCC is eventually credited to the accounts of the BNSG. I say this cos at the end of the day it is the state govt that will lose, not the EFCC & certainly not any of the 22 members.
These are the facts as I know them to be and if anybody has more credible or authentic information then let them share, otherwise we may as well bring this matter to a well deserved closure!

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