By Solomon Ayado
The Justice Elizabeth Kpojime Commission of Inquiry which resumed sitting at the Makurdi High Court 4 yesterday uncovered the diversion of N18.7billion by the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
Testifying before the commission, permanent secretary of the Bureau, Mr. Emmanuel Ikpe who could not give satisfactory explanation as to the owner of the bank account, appealed to the commission to invite the former special adviser of the Bureau during the period under investigation, Mr. Solomon Wombo and the former permanent secretary, Mr. Asen Sambe, to give the required clarifications.
Ikpe said N1.8 billion monthly salaries of primary school teachers owed between October 2013, and June 2014, was lodged in the fixed deposit account number 1017993231 with First Bank.
He further admitted that the Bureau made payments between January and May, 2015 to the tune of N18.7billion into the unknown account at First Bank, Makurdi and added that officials of the bank refused to give the Bureau details of the account when the Director of Finance and Administration approached them.
When the Commission demanded to know who from the Bureau made the payment of N4.6 billion in May and N5 billion in June last year among others, Mr. Ikpe said the then Accountant, Mr. Isaiah Ipevnor, and the then Permanent Secretary, Mr. Sambe who was the accounting officer, were in the best position to explain.
On why the sum of N3.4 million was being paid monthly by the Bureau to a contractor, Ameh Technology, Mr. Ikpe explained that the Bureau had entered a contractual agreement with the company for the supply and maintenance of generating plants in the 23 local government areas of the state.