ICPC Arraigns Gov Ortom’s Aides Over N4.8bn Fraud

Benue Gov. Samuel Ortom

Two Benue State officials have been arraigned by Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) before the State High Court for alleged misappropriation of funds to the tune of N4.8 billion.

The duo, Stephen Amase, Principal Private Secretary to the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom; and Manger Emmanuel, a former Commissioner of Works and presently, Special Adviser, Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology, Benue State; were arraigned before Justice S.O Itodo for diverting public funds into private use.

This was contained in a statement issued by Spokesperson of  Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) Rasheedat Okoduwa on Sunday

The statement said the accused committed the offence in March 2016, which it said is contrary to Sections 12 and 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

It said the prosecution counsel for ICPC, G. O Iwuagwu, informed the court that the first defendant, Mr Amase, used his position to secure contracts unlawfully for a firm, Tongyi New International Construction Limited.

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Barr. Iwuagwu explained that the second accused person, Mr. Emmanuel, also conspired with the Principal Private Secretary by using his position to award a contract to an unqualified company Tongyi New International Construction Limited for said amount.

The ICPC through its prosecutor, therefore, said the accused acted deliberately to mislead the State Tenders Board and State Executive Council in the award of the contract.

According to the statement, after the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge, their counsel, C. A. K. Asheka, made an application for their bail, which Mr. Iwuagwu did not oppose.

Justice S.O. Itodo then granted them bail in the sum of N10 million with one surety each of not less than grade level 16 official and serving with the Benue State Government.

The sureties are to deposit evidence of ownership of landed property within Makurdi metropolis.

‘’The case was then adjourned to February 5, 6, and 7, 2020 for further hearing,’’ said the statement.