The Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State to probe the eight-year old regime of his predecessor, Gabriel Suswam has disclosed that the sum of N219,886,307,827.63 was inappropriate for out of the sum of N1,021,031,043,163.63 that accrued to the state between 2007 and 2015.
Chairman of the committee, Justice Elizabeth Kpojime, while presenting the report to Gov Ortom in Government House, Makurdi yesterday also said only fifteen percent of the revenue was allocated to capital expenditure, stressing that the process was characterised by lack of due diligence in contract awards, contract inflation, abandonment of projects after collecting payments as well as multiple payments.
She also disclosed that the management of the huge recurrent expenditure was even worse as financial instructions and regulations were completely set aside in some ministries and MDAs.
According to her, there was “outright theft of public revenue such as the payment of N3.11 billion out of the proceeds of the sale of government shares into a private account by the Ministry of Finance and invention of alien sub-heads such as cost of running government and government house expenditure under which close to six billion naira was taken out.”
Responding, Ortom thanked the committee for completing its job on time and promised to implement the report to the letter, stressing that every kobo that was misappropriated would be recovered for the development of the state.
The governor also promised to set up a white paper committee comprising of people of high integrity to study the report of the committee.