- The Benue state government has filed criminal charges against six suspended council chairmen
- The Benue state House of Assembly had suspended the chairmen for alleged conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating, and misappropriation of public funds
- The case was however, adjourned till Tuesday, February 5, for mention
The attorney general and commissioner for justice, Benue state, Michael Gusa, has filed direct criminal charges against the six local government chairmen suspended on Monday, January 21, by the Benue state House of Assembly for alleged conspiracy, breach of trust, cheating, and misappropriation of public funds.
Legit.ng gathered that the six suspended chairmen charged to court are Austin Okwoche of Oju local government council, Mrs Juliana Audu of Makurdi, Mrs Beckie Orpin of Gboko and Mrs Comfort Echoda of Agatu as well as her Vice, Joseph Ngbede.
Others are Terdoo Kenti of Kwande and his vice, Andrew Orvande, as well as Francis Ogwuche of Okpokwu.
In the suit filed by the state director, Citizens Rights, Ministry of Justice Makurdi, Peter Agbese, on behalf of the attorney general of Benue state, said the chairman of Agatu LGA, Comfort Echoda and her deputy, Joseph Ngbede, allegedly conspired and converted to their personal use, the sum of N150 million being local government funds from federal allocation, contrary to the penal code of Benue state.
The state counsel also alleged that, the suspended chairman of Gboko local government, Becky Orpin, diverted and misappropriated the sum of N20 million being funds meant for National Home Grown School Feeding Programme, as well as converted the sum of N5 million meant for 2018 Christmas celebration to her personal use.
Agbese further stated that the chairman of Okpokwu local government council, Francis Ogwuche, allegedly misappropriated the sum of N32 million meant for the mass burial of victims of Omusu massacre by militia herdsmen last year, in addition to N5 million meant for 2017 Christmas package.
The chairman of Oju local government council, Austine Okwoche, is accused of alleged misappropriation of N120 million being local government funds from the federal allocation.
Agbese further alleged that the chairman of Makurdi local government council, Juliana Audu, misappropriated the sum of N20 million meant for providing security in Mbalagh Ward of Makurdi local government area.
The chairman of Kwande local government, Terdoo Kenti and his deputy, Andrew Orvande allegedly conspired and converted over N168 million being funds from federal allocation.
The case was however, adjourned till Tuesday, February 5, for mention by the chief magistrate, Isaac Ajim.
Meanwhile, Governor Samuel Ortom has accused the federal government of using the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to witch-hunt its political opponents ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The Benue state governor was reacting to the allegation by the minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)'s presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has a case to answer over the collapse of the defunct Platinum Habib Bank (Bank PHB).
In a statement to Legit.ng on Sunday, January 20, by his spokesman, Terver Akase, the governor accused the government of usurping the functions of the anti-graft commission.
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