Akume stole N4.56b, sold N33m BIPC shares illegally, says Benue Govt

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

The Benue state government has accused a former governor of Benue state and Minister for Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs, Senator George Akume, of stealing a whopping N4.56 billion when he piloted the affairs of the North Central state between 1999 and 2007.

Making this allegation in a very worded petition sent to the EFCC, ICPC and the Inspector General of Police on November 24, 2021, Counsel to Benue state government, Okeoga Darlington, Esq also accused Senator Akume of selling 33,440,818 units of shares at the Benue Investment and Property Company, BIPC, also valued at billions of naira without recourse to due process

The government in the petition accused Akume of financial fraud which ranges from misappropriation of public funds, approvals above limit, abuse of office and public trust also include sale of 33,440,818 units of shares at the Benue Investment and Property Company, BIPC, also valued at billions of naira without recourse to due process.

According to the government, an audit report spanning from 1999 to 2007 indicated that Akume as governor then unilaterally approved the sum of N117 million which is above his approval limit without recourse to the State Executive Council meeting.

The reckless financial expenditures  was said to be for consultancy and feasibility study for Mbatiav Cement which turned out to be a white elephant project that never saw the light of the day.

Further findings according to the petition also alleged financial indiscipline, abuse of fiscal policies and misappropriation for various contracts amounting to N3,125,882,409.25 billion.

The former Governor was also accused of misappropriation of ecological funds amounting to N300,002,000 million which was spent on projects different from ecological projects.

During the audit report, it was also discovered that under the watch of the former Governor, a loan of N150 million was taken from defunct Afri-Bank in December 2000 for purchase of shares in companies but the money was transferred to All Securities Limited for which no receipts were found for the transaction.

It was also discovered during the audit that the former Governor  Akume claimed to have executed ‘many projects’ that were never located which the petition deemed to be an aberration of due process, abuse of fiscal policies and criminal violation of relevant laws.

Regrettably, many of such projects, valued at N1,074,017,023.65 billion were not accounted for as there was no evidence of their execution anywhere.

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