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4 Mar 2016

FRAUD: Ortom Drags Suswam, Others To EFCC

By Andrew Essien
The Benue State attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Mr. Micheal Gusah has written a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on behalf of the state government, asking it to begin a probe against former state Governor Gabriel Suswam.
A credible source at the agency also confided in LEADERSHIP last night that the petition was signed by the Benue AG and was received at about 3pm on Monday at the EFCC headquarters.
The source added that the Benue AG also attached the report of the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime- led probe panel that investigated the administration of Suswam to the petition.
In the petition, the Benue State government wants the commission to initiate prosecution against Suswam, 51 others and 10 firms.
Suswam is presently facing an alleged N3.1billion fraud before a Federal High Court in Abuja relating to the same issue raised by the Justice Kpojime led probe panel.
In the over 240-page report of the Justice Kpojime panel that probed all state finances that accrued from 2007 to 2015, it recommended that Suswam should refunded various sums of money to the state government.
It was further alleged that Suswam and many of his appointees including civil servants that held key positions in his administration allegedly engaged in dubious expenditures running into billions of naira.
It was gathered that Justice Kpojime panel submitted its report to Governor Samuel Ortom three weeks ago where it made far reaching recommendations.
The commission also recommended that 52 individuals and 10 corporate bodies should refund over N107billion to the coffers of the state government.
It also recommended a deeper investigations and possible refund of over N44billion from transactions found not in compliance with the laid down financial guidelines.
Kpojime told Ortom that during the period covered by the assignment, N1.21trillion accrued to the state from about 27 identified sources out of which N802billionn was appropriated while N219billionn was expended but not appropriated.
From the report, Suswam, former commissioner for finance, Omadachi Oklobia, former special adviser on local governments and chieftaincy affairs, Solomon Wombo and two former permanent secretaries, Emmanuel Atini and Asen Sambe, Messrs Isaiah Ipevnor, a former accountant of the Bureau are alleged to have diverted local government funds amounting to N51.6billion into personal use.
They are also accused of paying N4. 23 billion into the accounts of the Benue State wing of Association of Local Governments of Nigeria,(ALGON) and diverting same for personal purposes.
Former state ALGON chairman, Hon Kester Ikyenge and other officials of the association are also implicated in squandering the council funds diverted into ALGON accounts without appropriation.
Ikyenge is currently the member representing Logo constituency in the Benue State House of Assembly.
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Item Reviewed: FRAUD: Ortom Drags Suswam, Others To EFCC Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Link Naija