Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Ortom: Why EFCC invited me – Tsav


Rayyan Alhassan
Rayyan Alhassan is a graduate of Journalism and Mass Communication at Sikkim Manipal University, Ghana. He is the acting Managing Editor at the Daily Nigerian newspaper, a position he has held for the past 3 years. He can be reached via [email protected], or, or @Rayyan88 on Twitter.
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Abubakar Tsav, a former Federal Commissioner in the Public Complaints Commission, PCC, said he was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to throw more light in a petition he wrote against Governor Samuel Ortom in 2016.

Mr Tsav told the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Makurdi that the petition was a product of complaints he received while serving as PCC boss in the state between 2015 and 2018.

He said the complaints were too weighty to be treated as “mere public complaints” because they touched on serious financial infractions against the state.

According to him, the issues contained in the complaints are questionable monetary withdrawals involving hundreds of millions of naira from joint government’s accounts to unknown destinations.

Specifically, the former police commissioner, a self-styled anti-corruption crusader, accused the Benue Government of allowing “fronts” to make huge withdrawals from a joint account it had with the local government.

He alleged that the withdrawals, amounting to N929.9 million, were withdrawn by two fronts, Festus Andoor and John J Bako, at different intervals between 2015 and 2016.

He also alleged that one Titus Zam, a former special adviser to Mr Ortom on Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, and the state governor were aware of the transactions.

According to him, withdrawals ranged between N525 million and N20 million at several instalments at different times.

He said that such withdrawals were questionable, especially after the state received its remittances from the Paris Club Refunds, which was meant to defray the backlog of workers’ salaries.

The former police boss expressed regretted that the Bureau sent a request for “Bail Out” funds by the staff strength they met. Yet, as soon as bail-out funds were received, a staff audit was carried out and Mr Zam announced that 5,000 ghost workers were found.”

He said it was worrisome that after declining payment to over 5000 people on account of being ghost workers, the remaining bonafide ones were still being owed.

Mr Tsav said even though, the petition was sent to the anti-graft agency in 2016 and duly acknowledged, the EFCC sent him a letter dated Aug. 20 requesting his appearance before it on Aug.26 for more information on the petition.

He said the letter inviting him for additional information was signed by the commission’s Director of Operations, Mohammed Umar Abba.

Mr Tsav said he had since honoured the request and furnished EFCC with all necessary information on the petition.

Meanwhile, the Benue Government has obtained a court order to serve substituted service on Mr Tsav in a renewed criminal suit filed against him by the Benue Attorney General, Mr Mike Gusah, at the Makurdi Chief Magistrates’ Court.

NAN recalls that the state government had dropped the case against Tsav following the intervention of notable elders in the state and an appeal to Mr Tsav to apologise to the governor and withdraw any petition against him.

The order for substituted services was granted on Tuesday by Magistrate Isaac Ajim after listening to arguments of the complainant’s counsel, Andrew Wombo.


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