Tuesday, 23 February 2016

KPOJIME: Onuh, Sen Mark's son inlaw, others to refund N4.23billion By Nathaniel Ikyur

One time super chairman of Otukpo local government, Dr Innocent Onuh and eleven others are to refund the sum of N4.23billion to the Benue state government.

Onuh was Chairman of Otukpo local government council for eight years and is married to Blessing, daughter of former Senate President David Mark.
He was elected twice and later appointed as caretaker throughout the life of the administration of former Governor Gabriel Torwua Suswam under the influence of his father inlaw, Sen David Mark who was at that time the President of Nigerian Senate.

The medical doctor turned politician is indicted alongside Hon Kester Ikyenge, Hon David Sevav, Mrs Owakoyi Ehiaruwa, Isaiah Ipevnor, Emmanuel Atini, Asen Sambe, Sunday Mark Eche, Hon Iyoryue Yajir among others by the Justice Elizabeth Kpojime-led Commission of Inquiry that looked into monies that accrued to Benue State between 2007 to 2015.

According to the commission's report, the twelve persons indicted included former local government council chairmen and civil servants who connived and allegedly stole the sum of N4,230,953,000.00 from the Local government funds and paid illegally paid into the ALGON account.

It said that "at the JAAC meeting of July 2009, a standing monthly deduction of N2million from each local government council amounted to N46million was approved by the JAAC. However, some excess deductions were illegally made and paid into ALGON account for ash withdrawals which have not been accounted for."

The deductions paid into the ALGON account, according to the Kpojime-led Commission stood at N4,230,953,000.00 between July 2009 amd May 2015.
Specifically, the report said Onuh, Sevav, both council chairmen of Otukpo and Ukum local governments respectively alongside Andrew Ayande withdrew the sum of One billion, five hundred and ten thousand naira (N1,510,100.00) between February 2nd, 2011 and 26th May, 2012.

Out of this amount, the sum of N552,000.00 was actually approved by the JAAC leaving out N958,500.00 which the commission said was illegally withdrawn without approvals.

Consequently, the commission recommended that Dr Onuh should alongside the former Special Adviser on Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs to the governor, Solomon Wombo, Emmanuel Atini, Isaiah Ipevnor and David Sevav should jointly and severally refund N958,500.00."

The Commission also noted that shortly before the last administration left office, "aggressive withdrawals were observed on the bank account of ALGON at the twilight of the past administration including a sweeping transfer of N20million from the account to one M/S Ralista Ventures for an unknown purpose by Donald Kertyo and Sunday Mark Eche."

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