Alleged N4.56bn fraud: Investigate Akume, Benue tells EFCC, ICPC

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George Akume

The Benue State Government (BSG) has asked anti-graft agencies to investigate the Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, over financial impropriety amounting to more than N4,556,899,632.9 billion when he served as governor.

The financial fraud which according to the BSG ranges from misappropriation of public funds, approvals above limit, abuse of office and public trust also includes sale of 33,440,818 units of shares at the Benue Investment and Property Company, BIPC, also valued at billions of naira without recourse to due process.

A letter of complaint to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC; Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC and the Inspector General of Police, written and signed by counsels to the Benue State Government, Okeoga Darlington, Esq, and made available to newsmen by the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Michael Gusa, was generated from an audit report spanning 1999 – 2007 when Senator George Akume served as governor.The letter said Akume  unilaterally approved the sum of N117 million which is above his approval limit without recourse to the State Executive Council meeting.

The reckless financial expenditures   was said to be for consultancy and feasibility study for Mbatiav Cement which turned out to be a white elephant project that never saw the light of the day.

Further findings according to the petition also alleged financial indiscipline, abuse of fiscal policies and misappropriation for various contracts amounting to N3,125,882,409.25 billion.

The former governor was also accused of misappropriation of ecological funds amounting to N300,002,000 million which was spent on projects different from ecological projects.

During the audit report, it was also discovered that under the watch of the former governor, a loan of N150 million was taken from defunct Afri-Bank in December 2000 for purchase of shares in companies but the money was transferred to All Securities Limited for which no receipts were found for the transaction.

It was also discovered during the audit that the former Governor  Akume claimed to have executed ‘many projects’ that were never located which the petition deemed to be an aberration of due process, abuse of fiscal policies and criminal violation of relevant laws.

Regrettably, many of such projects, valued at N1,074,017,023.65 billion were not accounted for as there was no evidence of their execution anywhere.

At press time , the media office of the minister was yet to respond to a text message sent to his phone.

 

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