Set to dock 14 lawmakers in court
As the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, continues to grill some members of the Benue state House of Assembly over alleged looting of N750m public funds, operatives of the commission have allegedly traced a fresh whooping sum of N500m to a private account of the embattled Speaker of the state Assembly, Terkimbi Ikyange.
A highly placed source at the commission during the weekend told Nigerian Pilot that the operatives of the EFCC were able to trace the latest fraud through the department of Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit of the EFCC and some confessional statements made by the embattled deputy speaker of the state Assembly, Mr. James Ikefe who since his arrest by the EFCC has allegedly been singing vowing not to go down alone.
According to the source, all the disbursements of the N750m car scam cash was personally carried out by the deputy speaker.
The source further added that the operatives of the commission have launched a fresh discreet investigation on the Speaker alone as to where he allegedly got N500m into his one of his private accounts in a new generation bank.
He said that after the arraignment of the 14 Benue state House of Assembly members including, Ikyange before a Federal High Court in Makurdi, he will be invited by the EFCC for another fresh interactions how he allegedly got a whooping sum of N500m whereas the state is battling to pay salaries amistd hunger, poverty and frustration in the state.
Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, had last week commended operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for investigating the Speaker and other members of the state House of Assembly for allegedly misappropriating N750 million meant for purchase of official cars.
The governor said his government would not condone any act of criminality or defend anyone who had a hand in fraud.
Nigerian pilot recalled that the Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Terkinbi Ikyange; his deputy, James Ikefe; the Majority Leader, Benjamin Adanyi; Deputy Majority Leader, Nick Eworo; the Minority Leader, Sule Audu and 10 other members were arrested and detained since on Monday last week in Abuja by the EFCC before some were granted bail on wednesday and Friday respectively.
Nigerian pilot gathered that though they were let off the hook via bail on Wednesday evening after spending three days in detention, another seven members had been summoned by Commission to appear for questioning on Friday and later were granted administrative bail.
Answering questions from State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential Villa, Abuja, Governor Ortom said in a matter of corruption, no one would be spared.
He said: “Yes it is a good thing, it is part of the process. They are under investigation by the EFCC. From day one I brought up a slogan that ‘if you chop
money, money will chop you.
“We have to be careful and I have sent signals to all
that nobody is above the law. If you do wrong, you will go your own way. As far as I’m concerned, they are under investigation. Let’s see the outcome we would have. As far as I’m concerned, my government will not shield anybody who is corrupt and who is found wanting. From myself as governor and every other lieutenant, we are opened to scrutiny.”
“EFCC is an agency that is charged to investigate and where somebody is found culpable you prosecute. So they are free to do their job in Benue State. I have given them free hand: ICPC, EFCC, and even for me I am doing independent prosecution of those who are corrupt,” he said.