Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC, has officially commenced investigation into the N28billion bailout that was accessed by the governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom.
A highly placed source at the ICPC at the weekend told Nigerian Pilot that the operatives of the commission were currently investigating some senior officials of the Benue State government, including some civil servants, particularly in the accounts section, over their alleged role in the diversion of the bailout funds.
According to the source, the operatives of the commission had written to the Benue State government to furnish it with the details on how the bailout funds were applied and why the state government still owes salaries of civil servants‎ for four to five months.
He said that Osun, Imo and other two states that accessed the bailout funds were under ICPC watch list for allegedly diverting the bailout funds too.
Already, the ICPC will soon be writing to the Secretary to the Benue State Government, Barrister Tagema Takema, the Commissioner of Finance,‎ David Olufu, and the Accountant General of the state, Asen Kwaghar, to appear before the team that is investigating the matter at the headquarters in Abuja.
Nobody is investigating the governor due to the immunity for the president, vice president and governors enshrined in the 1999 constitution (as amended).
President ‎Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the chairman of ICPC, Mr. Nta Ekpo, to commence investigation on how bailout funds to states to clear civil servants salaries were allegedly diverted.
This is according to a report by ICPC signed by Mustapha Hussain on behalf of the commissioner on Public Enlightenment released recently in Abuja, which monitored how states spent the N338billion bailout fund given to them by the federal government.
Nigerian Pilot recalled that Buhari had last year approved the sum of N338billion for 27 states that were unable to pay salaries.
Some of the states had been unable to pay over 10 months salary arrears and pensions.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who heads the National Economic Council, had explained that the loan was repayable at an interest rate of nine percent over a 20- year period and it is “solely for the purpose of paying the backlog of salaries.”

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