By Juliana Agbo, Benue
Contrary to media reports earlier that Benue State governor is under fire for diverting N4.29bn, the state governor, Samuel Ortom, has denied the allegation.
He said there was no way he could have stolen such amount from the state treasury, without being spotted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and invited for questioning.
Ortom denied ever transferring such huge amount. He blamed the report on those he claimed had looted the state to the tune of N107 billion before he took over.
In the statement by his Special Adviser on Media and ICT, Tahav Agerzua, the governor also said that none of his aides had been invited by the EFCC for questioning over the alleged offence, which he said was spurious.
The governor stated that the sum of N929 million was judiciously used for security issues and properly accounted for and not misused as reported by the petitioners to EFCC.
The governor’s aide said: “Checks at the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs where an alleged N929,903,967.00 was stolen by two persons revealed the following:
“Mr Festus Andoor is the cashier of the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, who has the mandate to make withdrawals from the Joint Allocation Account Committee’s Bank account, as approved by the 23 local government chairmen at JAAC meetings.
“These approvals include disbursement of funds to tackle security challenges; especially herdsmen’s attacks in the 23 local government areas in recent times, as well as other emergencies such as the burial of the late Tor Tiv Orchivirigh, Dr Alfred Akawe Torkula.”
He therefore appealed to members of the public to disregard any information that can tarnish his image and the good people of Benue.