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I took N100m to Suswam - Accountant nails former Benue governor

Written By Idoma Television on Tuesday, December 8, 2015 | 5:59:00 AM

The Justice Kpojime Commission of Enquiry in Makurdi has heard how millions of naira were taken to Benue State ex-Governor Gabriel Suswam at the Governor’s Lodge in Makurdi, from the Ministry of Finance, without following due process.
The Government House Accountant, Mrs. Janet Aluga, told the commission that the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Ruth Ijir, on April 10 called her to go and collect N100 million from a bank for Suswam, which she did.

She said the permanent secretary asked her to deliver the money to the former governor, who stayed in one of the governor’s lodges, adding that after she collected the money, she handed it over to Suswam in the presence of the cashier, Peter Ochoga and Emmanuel Aorga, now retired.

Mrs. Aluga explained that usually, after approval of request from the government, monies were taken to the Permanent Secretary, Government House Administration, but in this case, there was a directive from the permanent secretary to give the cash to the governor.

The accountant said there were two ways the Government House used to receive money for expenditure, approvals and security votes from the Ministry of Finance or Bureau of Internal Affairs.
 The witness admitted that the money she and her team gave Suswam was not acknowledged. Another witness, Mr. Peter Ochoga, the Government House cashier from 2009 to date, confirmed that he received N50 million from James Agera of the Ministry of Finance and another N150 million from Zenith Bank, Makurdi and gave the money to the accountant, Government House.

He said they drove to one of the governor’s lodges and the accountant, Mrs. Aluga, entered the money and handed it over to ex-Governor Suswam.

The accountant of the Bureau of Internal Affairs from 2008 to May this year confirmed that she received N200 million from the Finance Ministry on behalf of the bureau on June 11, 2010, and handed it over to the then Permanent Secretary, Mr. Hinga Biem.
She said she did not know the purpose of the money.
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