Our attention has been drawn to an advertorial sent to newspapers and other platforms claiming that Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, gave contracts to a company in which he has vested interest.
The said advertorial contained letters purportedly written by the company soliciting for contracts which the Governor gave approval for their payment running into hundreds of millions of naira which it claimed was made.
The general public is hereby notified that the said letters and the signatures on them have been forged as part of an organized smear campaign deliberately calculated to portray Governor Ortom as corrupt.
The campaign is at best an indication that corruption, which the Governor detests and has stood against, is attempting to fight back in accordance with its well-known character.
The sponsor of the said advertorial signed as Chief Linus Ochejile of the New Benue Proactive, No. 14 Ankpa Road Makurdi, Benue State.
Checks at the address revealed that neither the signatory nor group existed.
The checks also indicated that the company which the advertorial claimed to have benefitted from the contracts, Oracle Business Limited, never wrote at any time requesting for contracts to renovate the Government House and supply tricycles.
It should also be noted that Governor Ortom relinquished chairmanship of the company as far back as 2011 when he became Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Moreover, the figures which the advertorial stated that the Governor approved in both cases exceeded his approval limit and as such only the State Executive Council has the powers to approve them subject to relevant budgetary provision.
From the records no such contracts were brought before the Council hence no approval was given and payment could not therefore, have been effected.
The advertorial claimed through the forged documents that Governor Ortom gave approval for payment directly to the Secretary to the State Government and the Accountant General.
Herein the sponsor exhibited gross ignorance of government payment procedure and due process.
The Governor’s approvals are conveyed by the Permanent Secretary, Government House Administration to the Commissioner of Finance who ensures implementation.
From the foregoing it clear that those who embarked on the campaign did a poor hatchet job that has failed to stand the test of scrutiny.
Members of the public are therefore advised to disregard the publication while media proprietors need to note that providing a platform for its circulation exposes them to the risk of legal action.
Special Adviser, Media and ICT.