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Benue Gov, Alia, sets up judicial panels to probe predecessor, Ortom



Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia, on Tuesday inaugurated two judicial commissions of inquiry to investigate the administration of his predecessor, Samuel Ortom.

While inaugurating the commissions at the Old Banquet Hall of the Government House in Makurdi, Alia said the move was part of his administration’s determination to promote accountability, transparency and good governance in the state.

The two commissions are named the Benue Income and Expenditure Commission of Inquiry 2024 and the Sale/Lease of Government Assets, Companies, and Markets (both State and LG Markets) Moribund Companies Commission of Inquiry 2024.

The Benue Income and Expenditure Inquiry Commission is to be chaired by Rtd. Justice Taiwo with Dr Abraham Gberindyer as Secretary, while the Assets and Moribund Companies Inquiry Commission will be have Rtd. Justice Appolos Idi as its Chairman with John Edigbo serving as its Secretary.

Alia said the commissions would investigate the eight-year tenure of Ortom from May 29, 2015 to May 28, 2023, and submit their reports within six months, adding that the commissions were constituted in line with the Commission of Inquiry Law (Cap 40) Laws of Benue State, 2004.

While addressing members of the Commissions, Alia said:

“The future prosperity of Benue hinges on the prudent and judicious management of our resources.

READ ALSO: Benue APC ratifies Omakolo as acting chair after late-night meeting with Gov Alia

“As we usher in a new era characterized by prioritising the welfare of our people, it is imperative and quite incumbent upon us to ensure that every Naira expended serves the collective interest and propels the growth and development of our state.

“Thus, it is incumbent upon us to scrutinise the management of our common resources during the specified periods.

“This inquiry is not rooted in distrust but in our commitment to the principles of accountability, transparency, and good governance, and for safeguarding the interests of the good people of Benue.”

The Benue Governor emphasized that the Income and Expenditure Commission would identify the income, expenditure and utilisation of the funds that accrued to the coffers of the state government within the period of the investigation.

It will also to identify all state accounts and examine the propriety or otherwise of the transactions in the accounts, identify the loans taken and ascertain the appropriateness of the utilization, interest charged on the loans and the possible abuses thereof.

He noted that the Commission will also “identify special interventions, including but not limited to the Bailout Funds and Paris Club Refunds received by the Benue State Government from May 29, 2015 to May 28, 2023 and the applications thereof to determine the internally generated revenue and the utilization of same.

“Identify cases of misappropriation, abuse, misuse and diversion of Benue State funds from May 29, 2015 to May 28, 2023.

“Identify those involved in all contracts issued within the period, the state wage bill and number of ghost workers that were receiving salaries amongst others.”

The Assets and Moribund Companies Commission on the other hand, owill identify all government properties, companies and markets sold or leased by the administration of Ortom, as well as determine the status and correct value of the properties sold or leased at the time.

“They will generally review all such transactions and advise the government on the appropriate action in the interest of the people and good governance,” Alia said.

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