Sunday, 25 September 2016

Benue Govt. Denies Diverting Schools Rehabilitation Fund

The Benue State government has denied an allegation of fraudulent diversion of seven billion Naira out of the 7.6 billion Naira public primary schools rehabilitation fund at the State Universal Basic Education Board.



This denial followed accusation levied against the state government and State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) by some contractors who bid for the 740 projects, alleging that 70% payment were made upfront to government cronies while 30% kick-backs were taken as bribe without executing the projects.

The police have opened investigation into the income and expenditure of SUBEB between 2011-2015.

Three accounting staff were arrested before the close of work on Friday, a development the SUBEB chairman said was not connected to his tenure in office.

On August 25, the Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, performed the symbolic flag off ceremony of the rehabilitation of 740 public primary schools, most of which were destroyed by herdsmen during attacks on Benue communities.

But the execution of the projects has since run into trouble waters, with controversies and alleged fraudulent diversion of the funds.

Channels Television’s correspondent in Benue State, visited the office of the Benue State Universal Basic Education Board to investigate the allegation.

But the SUBEB chairman, Philip Tachin, insisted that due process was followed in the award of the contracts.

Asked if the board had the 7.6 billion Naira to see through the 740 school projects, Mr Tachin said even the Universal Basic Education Commission in Abuja had access to the expenditure profile of the board.

Defending the state government, the Benue State Governor, through his spokesman, Terver Akase, asked those behind the allegation to come forward with proof of fraud and favouritism if indeed there were discrepancies in the entire process.

While the government believes the burden of proof rested on those fuelling the allegation of fraud, the Commissioner of Police in Benue State, Bashir Makama, said officials were looking into all the issues, believing that the truth would be revealed.

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