Leaked memo exposes N1.725 billion fraud in BLGCA, Benue govt ***LG bosses forced to donate N75m each for Xmas Rice

By Nigerian Concord Newspaper

Fresh financial scandal has rocked the Benue State Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs over an illegal remittance of N1.725B (One Billion and Seven Hundred and Twenty Five million) by the twenty three caretaker chairmen in the state.

The N1.725 billion was remitted into some bank accounts that were provided to the twenty three local government caretaker chairmen by the Special Adviser to Governor Alia on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr. Denis Akura at the JAAC meeting of December 2023.

According to some top staffs of the Bureau as well as Government House sources, Denis Akura told the twenty three local government caretaker chairmen that the money was meant for a project tagged “Supports for the governor/Christmas Rice and cows”.

Nigerian Concord Newspaper reliably obtained some official memos which were differently signed by the twenty three local government chairmen. The memos were separately addressed the bank managers of their respective local governments for the release of the N75 million which each of them contributed as directed by Dr. Akura.

The memos which were in the possession of our investigators showed that First Bank, Zenith Bank, FCMB and Eco Bank were the banks which the special adviser to the governor of Benue state on local government and Chieftaincy Affairs directed the twenty three local government caretaker chairmen to make the remittances of the said N1.725 Billion meant to support the governor for the purchase of Christmas rice to.

A visit of Nigerian Concord Newspaper to the headquarters of the Corporate Affairs Commission in Abuja showed that some of the companies that operate the bank accounts where the N1.725 billion was paid belong to a director in the Bureau, Mrs Dooshima Tuluma and two cronies of the governor.

Like other caretaker chairmen, the Caretaker chairman of Apa local government, Matthew Ochai Aidu on December 27, 2023 sent a memo (attached to this report) to the Manager of Fidelity Bank in Makurdi where he directed him to make a payment of N35, 054,347.83 Million from the official account of the local government to the first bank account of Pat and Tap Global Limited with account number 2043533282. He minuted to it as funds meant for purchase of Xmas rice.

He also directed the Fidelity Bank manager in the memo to pay another N5, 217, 391.30 million to the Zenith Bank of Bernard- Tyav Global Resources Limited with account number 1210000808 for the purchase of Xmas rice.

On the same day, Hon. Matthew Ochai Aidu also directed the bank manager to pay a sum of N4, 510,869.57 million to the FCMB account of Sale M Baya Global Resources Limited with account number 1335594010 for the purchase of Xmas cows.

Also, he authorized the payment of the sum of N634,782.61 to the Eco Bank account of one Isokaa Emmanuel with account number 4203003984. According to the memo, this was meant for logistics and distribution of the Xmas rice and cows that were never purchased by Denis Akura.

Some other memos at the disposal of Nigerian Concord Newspaper also indicted the twenty local government caretaker chairmen of separately paying another sum of N30, 420,081.56 million each to Zenith and FCMB bank accounts of Bernard- Tyav Global Resources Limited and Sale M Baya Global Resources Limited for a fresh set of Xmas rice and cows as ordered by Dr. Akura during the December JAAC meeting which he presided.

Findings by this newspaper shows that each of the twenty three local government caretaker chairmen made payments of N75 million totaling N1.725 billion to the account numbers that were distributed to them by Dr. Denis Akura during the December, 2023 JAAC meeting.

However, it was found out during investigation that the N1.725 billion contributed by the twenty three local government caretaker chairmen was not used by Governor Hyacinth Alia for the purchase of Xmas rice and cows. The rice that were distributed by the Benue state government during Christmas were palliative rice donated to the state by the federal government. The federal government towards the end of last year announced the donations of several trucks of Palliative rice and other items to all the thirty six states in the country.

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