Nigeria: Benue officials in trouble with EFCC over N1.3bn salary scam
London, August 1, 2018 (AltAfrica)-Nigeria’s anti graft agency,the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to declare officials of the Benue State Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs wanted over refusal to honour invitations.
The officials have been invited since July 2016 to explain their involvement in an alleged N1.328 billion salary scam in the State.
EFCC agents leading the investigation told Daily Trust in Abuja yesterday it discovered how N1.3bn cash withdrawals were made from a joint State and Local Government bank account.
It was said that new generation bank account operated by the bureau often received the money meant for salary and pension of Benue workers directly from the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC).
EFCC agents said plans were in place to declare all government officials involved in the transactions wanted and watch listed.
The EFCC said it had cause to investigate the matter after it received a petition from one Abubakar Tsav on June 10, 2016.
The EFCC said Tsav who is a Commissioner in the Public Complaints Commission wrote the petition against the Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom and a former Chairman of Gwer West Local Government Area, Titus Zam.
The petition alleged N929 million fraudulent transactions through the bureau, while workers and pensioners of the state were not paid for a long time.
The EFCC said it discovered the bureau operated an account with a new generation bank numbered; 5030058730, where the money was withdrawn by two persons, Andoor Festus and John Bako.
It was said that most of the money was withdrawn in cash ranging from N20m, N50m and N150m according to inflows from the FAAC.
It was discovered that Andoor Festus withdrew N1.3bn while John Bako suspected to belong to one of the security outfits in the state received N28m.
Also, the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu was yesterday grilled by EFCC operatives in Abuja over alleged financial crimes.
EFCC spokesman Wilson Uwujaren confirmed that Ekweremadu honoured an invitation by the commission extended to him seven days ago.
Ekweremadu was still being interrogated by operatives at 9 pm Tuesday , several hours after arriving at the EFCC headquarters.
It was also gathered that Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) now come with sureties ready to perfect their bails once they were invited by the EFCC.
Ekweremadu did not honour an invitation from the EFCC on July 24, to answer questions over corruption allegations.
EFCC’s letter to Ekweremadu, dated July 24, also requested that he submit himself to the EFCC at 10 am same day.
The letter was titled; ‘case of conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering,’ signed by one Muhammed Umar Abba as Director of Operations.
The letter noted that, “This commission is investigating the above mentioned case in which your name features prominently and the need to obtain certain clarification from you became imperative.”