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.”
However, the report issued by the ICPC
showed that Benue and Imo States were found
wanting while a few other states were found
to still be owing salaries, an indication that the
funds may have been mismanaged.
The report comes less than two months after
the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,
EFCC, arrested the principal secretary to the
governor, Dr. Pascal Obi, and two others —
Uzoho Casmir and Iheoma Kenneth — who
were described by the EFCC as the directors of
finance and treasurer respectively.
The fresh report by the ICPC states that “Imo
State applied for and received bailout funds
of N26, 806, 430, 000 from the Central Bank
of Nigeria which were domiciled with two
commercial banks namely Fidelity and Zenith.
In the course of analysis, it was discovered that
some transfers were made into certain Imo State
government accounts which are not related to
salaries and emoluments as follows: N2billion
paid into a Government Account; N2billion into
an Imo State Project account; N2bn transferred
into microfinance bank; and a management fee
of N21, 017, 810 was paid into an unspecified
According to the report also, Benue State
received over N12billion that was meant for the
payment of salaries but mysteriously paid over
N70million into the account of the Office of the
Deputy Governor.

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