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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Revealed! How N18.7 Billion Primary School teachers’salaries was paid into an unknown account in Benue

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue

About N18.7 billion meant for primary school teachers’ salaries was paid into an unknown account, a commission of inquiry in Benue led by Justice Elizabeth Kpojime revealed on Wednesday.

According to the commission, Benue State Bureau for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs made the payment into an account with First Bank in Makurdi.

The Permanent Secretary of the Bureau, Mr. Emmanuel Ikpe, had problems explaining the identity of the owner of the account. He asked the commission to invite the former Special Adviser of the Bureau, Solomon Wombo and former Permanent Secretary,  Asen Sambe, during the period under investigation to explain who owns the account where the money was lodged, the Punch has revealed.

He explained that N1.8bn monthly salaries of primary school teachers owed between October 2013 and June 2014, was lodged in the fixed deposit account number 1017993231 with First Bank.

He said that the Bureau made payments between January and May, 2015 to the tune of N18.7bn into the unknown account. He further explained that the bank refused to reveal the owner of the account when approached by the bureau.

Mr Ikpe could not also tell the commission why the Bureau made the payment of N4.6bn in May and N5bn in June last year among other similar transactions. He said the former accountants of the Bureau Isaiah Ipevnor and Sambe, were in the best position to explain.

On why N3.4m was being paid monthly by the Bureau to a contractor, Ameh Technology, Ikpe explained that the Bureau had entered into a contractual agreement with the company for the supply and maintenance of generators in the 23 local government areas of the state.

However, he explained that since he became Permanent Secretary, the bureau has discontinued the payment and is thinking of terminating the contract with the company.

When Kpojime also demanded to know why Ashitech, Ashifood and Akpo Integrated Limited were being paid between N40m and N45m monthly, the Permanent Secretary requested for time to enable him to look into the records and furnish the commission with details.

The sitting adjourned to today and Ikpe is expected to continue testifying and to present the document requested by the commission.

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