…You’re not clean also, citizens tell Governor
Caution was the word on Wednesday, as citizens react to the inauguration of two panels by Benue State Governor, Chief Samuel Ortom to probe his immediate past predecessor, Gabriel Suswam.
At the swearing in of the two commissions, at the Government House, Makurdi, the governor, recalled his pledged to ensure compliance with the rule of law and due process in the conduct of government business, adding that this would also apply to the work of the commissions.
Dismissing allegations of witch-hunt against his predecessor, he emphasised that the core values of his tenure included accountability, transparency, fairness, justice, equity, discipline and selflessness.
But, a project consultant with the Benue state Government, Mr. Nat Apir has declared that vindictiveness, vengeance and pride are the templates for Ortom’s government hence the desperation to tarnish the previous government.
The Governor said at the event: “At every turn, I have said publicly that our administration has zero tolerance for corruption and that any official, no matter how highly placed, who converts public funds to personal use will be sanctioned.”
The judicial commission named: Verification of Funds/Received and the Utilisation of Benue State Government Funds Judicial Commission of Inquiry 2015, has Justice Elizabeth Kpojime.
It is, among other things, empowered to identify all revenue resources and the total amount which accrued to the state from June 3007 to May, 2015.
It is to specifically ascertain how much funds were received by the state government such as allocation from federation account, local government resources, internally generated revenue, bonds and loans, excess crude account, small and medium enterprises funds, ecological funds, VAT, Sure-P funds, SUBEB, MDGs and any other funds.
The Justice Kpojime commission is to further ascertain the number of shares/stock owned by the state government in Dangote Cement Company Plc, Julius Berger Plc, Benue Brewery Limited and other companies or enterprises, ascertain the circumstances that led to the sale of such shares/stock and their worth or value and identify the investors who bought them and determine whether the transactions followed due process of law.
It is also to ascertain the whereabouts of the proceeds of the sale and determine if the state had any equity left in the said companies and the value of such equity, ascertain if the funds realised were appropriated, ascertain the application and utilisation of such funds and also establish misappropriation if any and identify the person or persons involved and recommend appropriate actions to the government.
Similarly, the six-man, Sale/Lease of Government Assets Commission of Inquiry, headed by Moses Atagher, is to identify all government properties that have been sold/leased since 2007 among others, review all such transactions and advise government on the appropriate actions in the interest of the people and good governance.
Kpojime while responding, commended the governor for the gesture and assured of fairness in the course of their duties.
The commission has six months to turn in its findings to government.