<<< Compiled by Pila Daniel >>>
For SOLOMON WOMBO, ISAIAH IPEVNOR and ASEN SAMBE
The Commission found sadly that upon appointment as the
Special Adviser to Governor Suswam in charge of the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Solomon Wombo found in the Bureau’s Accountant, Mr Isaiah Ipevnor a willing collaborator, in the massive looting agenda of Local Government funds by the Suswam Administration.
Rather than release Local Government funds to the Council, the Bureau released just enough to pay salaries and then used the balance for irrelevant purposes.
In spite of the huge sum of over N348billion naira (excluding UBEC funds) that accrued to that tier of government, most local government. councils survived on obtaining illegal loans at exorbitant interest rates or even borrowing from the Bureau itself.
Mr Solomon Wombo was the “Lord of the manor” treating the Local Government funds like personal cash and even appointing signatories to ALGON accounts.
The Permanent Secretaries and Mr Isaiah Ipevnor totally side-lined financial regulations, due process and even money laundering laws.
Due to his massive looting of Local Government funds and mis-governance of the Bureau, Mr. Solomon Wombo is considered unfit to hold public office. He should in addition to refunding the amount he looted, be barred from holding public office.
Government accepts the recommendation.
Mr Isaiah Ipevnor who played an active role in facilitating the corruption documented in foregoing chapter is equally considered a corrupt public officer unfit to occupy any office of trust in the service. He is therefore recommended for dismissal from the Civil Service of Benue State and in addition to refund the amount stated against him and others jointly and severally.
Government accepts the recommendation.
Illegal Investment and Misappropriation of Primary School teachers’ salaries.
Between November 2013 and June 2014, the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs got a total sum of N10.5billion as teachers’ salaries.
Rather than paying the teachers, the Bureau deposited the entire amount into a fixed deposit account. However, when the Bureau commenced payments of the arrears in July 2014, only N6, 034,813,349.64 was paid directly to the Local Government
Education Authorities (LGEAs) for salaries, leaving a balance of N4, 482,504,944.56 which was withdrawn in cash from the accounts of the Bureau by its officials. The Accountant, Mr. Ipevnor and the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Asen Sambe could not provide a satisfactory response to the issue.
Hon. Solomon Wombo, Mr. Asen Sambe and Mr. Isaiah Ipevnor should jointly and severally refund the sum of N4,482,504,944.56(four billion, four hundred and eighty two million, five hundred and four thousand, nine hundred andforty four naira, fifty six kobo).
For JOHN TYOKEGH
Disbursement of N8,850,000.00 (Eight million, eight hundred and fifty thousand naira) into the account of Barr. John Tyokegh, Company Secretary BIPC.
This amount was approved in favour of the representative of John Holt Plc but was paid into the account of Barr. John Tyokegh. Moreover, he was unable to account for the amount.
Barr. John Tyokegh should account for the sum of N8,850,000.00
(Eight million, eight hundred and fifty thousand naira) paid into his account.
Government accepts the recommendation and further directs that Barr. John Tyokegh be relieved of his appointment as Company Secretary of the BIPC and be further prosecuted.
For Mr JAMES GERA, MOSES DETSO, MOSES NDERA and AGBO O AGBO
Receipt and acknowledgement of total cash of N578,000,000.00 (Five hundred and seventy eight million naira) by Hon. Omadachi Oklobia from Ministry of Finance Cashier, Mr. James Gera. The then Honourable Commissioner of Finance of the State, Hon. Omadachi Oklobia acknowledged the receipt in cash the sums of N200million, N128million, N100 million, and N150million on various dates, without stating the purpose of the cash and details of disbursement. There was also no evidence of retirement of these sums from the records of the Ministry of Finance.
It was also found that amounts contained in the monthly JAAC Schedule of payments for Local Governments were eventually not paid to the Local Government Councils as there were huge discrepancies between JAACagreed amounts per Local Government Councils as contained in the monthly JAAC payment schedule and the actual amounts which were paid to the respective accounts of the Local Governments as contained in the bank payment schedules. This shortfall amounted to N51,559,859,968.40 between January 2010 and May 2015 as shown in
Table 5 of this report.
Meanwhile, huge cash withdrawals amounting to over N43billion of Local Government Councils were made from the Local Government Joint Account (JAAC) 2017241513 domiciled with First Bank almost on a daily basis as contained in Table 2 of this report. In most of these transactions, the payee (Detso, Agbo or Ndera) simply endorsed the cheques and submitted them at the bank as if payment had been made and returned to their offices without collecting the cash. Thereafter, an unknown person would come to the Bank and collect the cash at the instruction of the Accountant, Mr. Isaiah Ipevnor. There is no evidence that these withdrawals were used for Government purposes.
The following named persons should jointly and severally refund the entire N51,559,859,968.40 (fifty-one billion, five hundred and fifty-nine million, eight hundred and fifty-nine thousand, nine hundred and sixty eight naira, forty kobo)to the State Government: Dr. Gabriel Suswam, Hon. Solomon Wombo, Mr. Emmanel Atini, Mr. Asen Sambe and Mr.
Government accepts the recommendation and further directs that Dr. Gabriel Suswam, Hon. Solomon Wombo, Mr. Emmanuel Atini, Mr. Asen Sambe be prosecuted, Mr. Isaiah Ipevnor be dismissed from the Civil Service and prosecuted.
Moses Detso, Agbo O. Agbo and Moses Ndera should not be assigned any responsibility in government involving finance.
Government rejects the recommendation in paragraph 11.2.3. Government directs that Moses Detso, Agbo O. Agbo and Moses Ndera be dismissed from the Civil Service as their continued stay will pollute the service.
For JANET ALUGA and JAMES GERA
Receipt and disbursement of N50, 000,000.00 (Fifty million
Naira) cash by Mr. Terna Natar on 15/4/2015 –
This cash amount of N50million was said to have been received from Mr. James Gera of the Ministry of Finance and handed over to the Accountant, Government House, Mrs. Janet T. Aluga. Mrs. Aluga had earlier testified that all monies she collected in this manner were handed over to Dr. Gabriel Suswam.