Barely a year in office, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has come under the searchlight of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, following allegation he caused the transfer of the state’s cash amounting to N4.29 billion from banks to unknown recipients.
This came as the immediate past Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Alhaji Abdullahi Dikko Inde, was also arrested by the EFCC for questioning over alleged fraud and abuse of office.
On the strength of the three petitions fired by insiders in Benue State government, the EFCC has already swung into action by questioning some persons close to the government in relation to the cash transfers.
A top official of the commission confirmed to Vanguard, last night, that the agency received two petitions against the governor and some top officials of the administration and had already commenced investigation into the matter, even though the governor is covered by immunity while in office.
He said: “I can confirm to you that the commission has received petitions against Governor Ortom and other dramatis personae over alleged diversion and other financial infractions. We have also commenced investigation into the veracity of the petitions.
And I can also tell you that the commission will soon take necessary action on the matter.” Some of those named in the petitions as arrowheads of the scam are members of the state House of Assembly and the National Assembly.
The official said only those not covered by immunity were being interrogated in connection with the cash movement, adding that the outcome of the commission’s probe would soon be made public.
Governor Ortom, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Terver Akase, said the report was not only false but also a demonstration of mischief and ignorance by the authors of the petitions.