Tuesday, 29 September 2015

N6.5bn Benue SURE-P Money Missing

The judicial panel of inquiry set up by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to probe the immediate past Gabriel Suswam-led administration, was yesterday told that over N6.5 billion Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme, SURE-P, funds, which accrued to the state, was unaccounted for.

Mr. Joseph Oko, Permanent Secretary, Administration, office of the Head of Service, HOS, made the disclosure yesterday in Makurdi, the state capital, at the resumed sitting of the panel, headed by Justice Margaret Kpojime.

He told the panel that though the HOS was the chairman of the programme in the state, his office was not in the picture of the financial transactions of the office.

Oko alleged that the office of the HOS served as the secretariat of the SURE-P, the committee set up by the government only received N25 million from the scheme as remittance for the training of participants in the scheme.

According to him, “though the Head of Service served as Chairman of the secretariat of the SURE-P committee, he never had access to the details of the funds allocated to the state since the inception of the programme.

“The information available to us through the Ministry of Finance indicated that the state received N7.7 billion from the Federation Account between May 2012 and December 2014.

“We also understood that the committee spent N1.2 billion while the remaining balance of N6.5 billion is supposed to be accounted for by the office of the Accountant-General and the Ministry of Finance since they are the recipient of the funds.”

Oko said although allocation for the programme was disbursed to the state from May 2012, the scheme was inaugurated in October 24, 2014, two years later.


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