Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Ortom, Suswam In Battle Of Wit


The Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are engaged in a battle of wit over the probe of the latter’s administration.



Ortom who claimed he inherited not just an empty but a deficit treasury from Suswam, had upon assumption of office in May, this year inaugurated a judicial commission of inquiry to probe the funds and receipts accrued to the state from 2007 to 2015.

He further asked the commission to inquire into the sale and lease of government property by former Governor Suswam.

The commission on funds and receipts is chaired by Justice Margaret Kpojime and has Mr. J.I Abaagu, Rev. Fr. Francis Wegh, Christopher Obute, Jacob Mulya, and Sekegh Akaa as members. Micheal Agber serves as the lead counsel.

The assets sales and lease commission is headed by Moses Atagher, and has Ngutor Anyam, Omale Omale, Moses Ogbajo, commissioner of police and Andrew Amee as members.

Ortom said the commissions of inquiry were not constituted to witch-hunt the officials of the past administration but to set the records straight.

According to Ortom, “the main objectives of the judicial commissions are to ensure verification of funds and receipts, identify all revenue resources and the total amount of revenue accrued between June 2007 to 2015, ascertain how much funds were received by the state government from Federal Account allocation, local government funds, bonds and loans, excess crude accounts, SMEs account, SURE-P funds, as well as state Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), and the MDGs.

“The commissions will ascertain the quantum of shares owed in Dangote, Julius Berger, BBL and other companies, government property sold and leased, ascertain the circumstances that led to the sale, the investors who bought them and whether due process was followed, and to determine if government of Benue has any equity left in the sale of such values, as well as ascertain the application and utilisation of the funds, to establish misappropriation if any and identify such persons and recommend actions in the interest of the people, “he stated.

Immediately after the institution of the probe panels, Suswam met with Governor Ortom over alleged financial issues.

It was the first meeting of the two leaders since the inauguration of Governor Ortom’s administration which Suswam governor did not attend.

The two probe panels have since commenced sittings and had invited various heads of government agencies to tender documents of financial transactions. The heads of MDAs have revealed to the commissions series of alleged corruption and misappropriation of funds.

But realizing the damaging effect of the probe, Suswam through his lawyer, Barrister David Iorhemba filed a motion for a stay of proceeding to stop the probe which the court granted recently.

Suswam alleged that the two judicial panels comprised of people with questionable character.

A High court sitting in Makurdi presided over by Justice Iorhemen Hwande ordered a stay of proceedings on both the judicial commission of inquiry and administrative commission of inquiry, set up by Benue state government to probe the administration of f Suswam.

This is even as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had invited Suswam to appear before it to clarify some issues over alleged corruption and outright diversion of state funds during his eight years tenure.

The former commissioner of finance, Omadachi Oklobia was also grilled.

Justice Hwande in his ruling suspended the probe after considering the affidavit and addresses of counsel to Suswam.having recourse to section 22(2) of the High Court Law and order 40(3(1) of the High Court and Civil procedure rules 2007.

Hwande stated that he was satisfied that leave ought to be granted to the applicant to proceed as prayed, holding that the leave is to operate as “Stay of Proceedings ” pending when the main application would be heard .

Ortom insists that the state is emessed in financial rot which, he alleged was driven by his predecessor and that the probe must be effected to recover stolen funds while Suswam resists, saying the probe is an act of conspiracy and witch-hunt.

http://leadership.ng/news/467943/probe-ortom-suswam-in-battle-of-wit

2 comments:

  1. This administrator has in other publications on this subject matter severally made reference to the Chairman of the Judicial Panel as Justice Margaret Kpojime.
    I can say authoritatively her name ain't Margaret, but I wouldn't do the research for you. Kindly made proper investigation and inform the public correctly, please.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This administrator has in other publications on this subject matter severally made reference to the Chairman of the Judicial Panel as Justice Margaret Kpojime.
    I can say authoritatively her name ain't Margaret, but I wouldn't do the research for you. Kindly made proper investigation and inform the public correctly, please.

    ReplyDelete