22 August 2016
Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said that 22 state legislators have started refunding car loans they collected for personal vehicles to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Ortom, who said this when he received youths of Turan in Kwande Local Government Area of the state, said the legislators were expected to refund N317million to the anti-graft agency in Abuja.
He said the refund was necessitated by the shoddy manner in which the loans were disbursed to the lawmakers.
The governor said that the process fell short of best practices required in such financial transactions.
Ortom explained that out of the number, 12 legislators were from the People’s Democratic Party, while 10 were from the All Progressives Congress.
He expressed regrets that due process was jettisoned, which led to the lodgements of cash into the accounts of the legislators for the purchase of the cars.
“After the Executive Council approved the contract for the procurement of Prado Jeeps for the assembly members, only eight were procured,’’ he said.
He said the contractor blamed his inability to purchase the remaining 22 vehicles on the high cost of the dollar.
“Instead of the contractor to get back to the government, he decided to meet the members directly, who opted for cash.
“The EFCC after studying the contract document ordered the 22 members, who collected cash to refund the money to the Commission as due process was not followed,’’ the governor explained.
The EFCC had over the past one month, played host to Benue legislators, including its leadership, to explain their role in the loan disbursement saga.
Ortom also assured that his former amnesty boss, Terwase Akwaza, who was fleeing from arrest over his alleged role in the killing of his security aide would be arrested and brought to book.
He said more than 60 of his gang members had been arrested for various crimes in the state.