2 Ex-Perm Secs, 7 Others Arrested in Benue Over N107bn Fraud
Two retired permanent secretaries have been arrested alongside six accountants and a cashier for their alleged roles in perpetrating a N107bn fraud in Benue state under the last administration led by ex-Governor Gabriel Suswam.
The current governor of the state, Mr David Ortom has repeatedly accused the former governor of leading a very corrupt administration, an accusation Suswam has repeatedly denied.
Suswam is however presently being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly misappropriating the state’s resources up to the tune of N3.1bn.
Confirming the arrest of nine persons in relation to the newly discovered N107bn fraud, the Benue state attorney-general and commissioner for Justice, Mr Michael Gusa told Vanguard:
“The two retired permanent secretaries, accountants and cashier were picked for questioning by police.
“They are to explain their roles in the misapplication of the state funds in their respective offices. This government is not witch hunting anybody; we are following due process and also applying the principles of Rule of Law.
“So their arrest is in furtherance of the moves and determination of the Governor Samuel Ortom-led administration to recover over N107 billion looted from the state treasury during the last administration in the state and we will sustain this till all the funds are recovered.
“So far, some damning documents and items have been recovered from the affected persons, some of whom have also willingly made useful statements to the police to aid the ongoing investigations.”
Benue State Police Commissioner, Mr Bashir Makama, who confirmed the arrest, said: “The suspects have been moved to Abuja for questioning.”
Suswam and a number of former governors were arrested earlier in the year by the EFCC in what appeared to be a renewed fight against corruption under the new administration.
In Benue state in particular, Governor Ortom has commissioned investigations into the actions of the past administration in the state and even ensured the arrest of some current lawmakers including the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.