– Governor Samuel Ortom has spoken about the EFCC’s allegation again him
– EFCC alleged that Ortom is unable to account for funds withdrawn from four government’s accounts between June 30, 2015 and March 2018
– Governor Ortom described the allegation as a clear case of persecution and witch-hunting
Benue state Governor Samuel Ortom on Wednesday, August 1, in Makurdi, state tasked the Economic and Fdinancia Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence probe of security votes right from the Presidency.
Daily Sun reports that Governor Ortom who expressed confusion over the investigation urged the anti-graft agency to begin the probe from the Presidency.
According to him, “So far, I am the only governor in Nigeria whose security vote is being investigated by the EFCC. Why should Benue case be different if not persecution?
“If the EFCC wanted a genuine investigation of security vote spending they should have started from the Presidency right across the 36 states.
“If their focus was on Benue state they should have started from 1999 when Senator Akume was Governor. But this is not the case. I want the whole world to know that all this is about persecution and a clear case of witch-hunting.
“With the enormous security challenges in the state since my assumption of office it is surprising that any one would expect me to do nothing but keep the security vote in the safe.
“The security vote spending being investigated spans from 2015 to 2018, a period of grave security challenges in the state. I reiterate that the investigation is a clear case of persecution.
“I have not misappropriated, diverted or stolen any money. I have nothing to hide. I assure that the investigators can find nothing incriminating against me.“
Ortom who explained that he is being persecuted for enacting the Anti-Open Grazing Law and his recent defection from the ruling APC to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) wondered why as a citizen of the country he cannot associate with any party he wants.
He maintained that he had to decamp from the APC because the interest of the Benue people and his own interest were no longer being protected.
He said: “I should be free to associate with any political party of my choice. After all, they say there are no permanent enemies in politics but permanent interest.
“At this time, the interest of Benue is not being protected by the APC and that is why I have defected. And I think for now, the PDP is best for the state.”
Meanwhile, Track News had reported that the political travails of Samuel Ortom were compounded after the EFCC disclosed that it had begun probing the Benue state governor for alleged fraud to tune of N22bn.
The anti-graft police also revealed that 21 members of the Benue state house of Assembly are under investigation for allegedly embezzling N375m meant for the procurement of vehicles for oversight functions.
The EFCC said the investigation against the top government officials commenced as far back in 2016.
In detailing the accusations against Ortom, the EFCC alleged that the governor ordered the withdrawal of N21.3bn from four government’s accounts between June 30, 2015 and March 2018.
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