Nigerian Concord Newspaper
The immediate past governor of Benue state, Chief Samuel Ortom has reacted to a fresh allegation of fraud against him and his administration by the governor of the state, Father Hyacinth Alia, saying that it was a lie that his administration used all the state government bank accounts to perpetrate fraud.
Chief Ortom’s reaction was contained in a press statement signed by his Media Aide, Mr. Terver Akase.
The statement reads:
The attention of the immediate past Governor of Benue State, Chief Samuel Ortom has been drawn to a newspaper report in which his successor, Governor Hyacinth Alia was quoted to have accused the previous administration of operating 57 accounts without bank statements. The report further quoted Governor Alia as saying that the bank accounts were used to perpetrate fraud.
The report in question is contradictory and it also indicates that the Alia administration is only interested in playing to the gallery and not yet ready to face the task of governance.
It is inherently impossible for transactions to be carried out on bank accounts without corresponding statements. The allegation that blank cheques were issued to individuals is absurd, lacks credibility and perhaps only convincing to those who possess no understanding of government operations.
The Alia administration received handover notes which also contained all government bank accounts. The reason they gave for freezing the accounts was to enable them to effect the change of signatories; and if they have changed the signatories, does it not sound ironic that the same government now claims that it does not have control over its own accounts? Government accounts are not operated by political appointees; they are operated by civil servants who are still answerable to Governor Alia and can be summoned to provide information whenever needed.
Even if it is true that certain individuals were issued cheques from government accounts, the present administration, as the new custodian of the accounts, possesses the authority to instruct banks to block the cheque numbers. It should be noted that the government issues payment mandates, not cheques. Therefore, the insinuation that cheques were given to specific individuals is baseless and misleading.
It is important to once again advise the Alia administration to roll up its sleeves and get to work to provide development. Persistent accusations and media trial of Chief Ortom won’t translate to service to the people.