Thursday, 22 September 2016

Benue: N7bn contract scam rocks Ortom’s government

The Benue State Universal Basic Education Board, under the chairmanship of Dr. Philip Tachin, has been exposed for allegedly awarding contracts worth N7bn to its men without due process.It was gathered that
Tachin and top officials of the board, awarded the multi-million naira contracts to friends and colleagues without going through the normal due process.

According to the investigation, in the awards of the contracts, 70 per cent was paid upfront while 30 per cent was for kick-back after the projects had been inflated.

“Though they are doing everything possible to cover the illegal and shady deal but many people who are aware of what is going on are not happy with the whole deal. This is despite the zero tolerance of Governor Ortom-led administration for corruption”, a source was quoted as saying.

Another source said the whole thing was being covered by the board.
He said, “They are doing everything secretly so that the governor may not know because if he knows, they are in big trouble.”

However, two cashiers of the SUBEB, Paul Mella (Cashier 2) and Jacob Agera (Cashier 1) have been arrested by the Special Fraud Unit of the Nigeria Police Force, Abuja, for hoarding financial information concerning the board.

Reacting to the development, SUBEB Chairman, Tachin, said the two financial officers of the board were actually arrested and taken to Abuja for questioning.

He said, “The police officers from Abuja came and requested for the documents to be made available and then they left. I told the cashiers to go to the bank and get the statement of account but they told me that the account is dormant. For the umpteenth time, I instructed them to make the documents available and they failed to co-operate. So, yesterday (on Tuesday), some police officers stormed the board and arrested them. For me, I do not have anything to hide. I will not shield anyone who is involved in any fraudulent act.’’

According to him, the award of contracts for renovation of over 700 primary schools in the state was done based on due process.

He debunked insinuations that it was awarded for political patronage, insisting that it followed due process.

Meanwhile, workers in the state have not been paid for the last six months. This development has forced the labour unions in the state to declare indefinite strike in the offing.


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