Ex-Benue State Governor Gabriel Suswam said yesterday that the report of the panel that probed his eight-year tenure was predetermined to tarnish his image and reduce his political relevance.
He said members of the panel were partisan from the outset because they are mostly from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Justice Kpojime Commission of Enquiry into the income and expenditure of Benue State from 2007 to 2015 last Friday submitted its report to the government.
It recommended that 52 people, including Suswam and 10 corporate bodies, should refund over N107 billion to the state’s coffers.
Reacting to the report, Suswam, in a statement in Abuja, said he was not surprised at the recommendations of the commission.
He said when it was inaugurated, its partisan composition informed his decision to approach the Makurdi High Court seeking to stop the tribunal from carrying out the premeditated task.
Suswam said: “The recommendation that my humble self and 51 officials who served in capacities and 10 corporate organisations should refund N107 billion to the Benue State government is laughable, unrealistic and a testimony of political witch-hunt, as no such money could have been taken out of government treasury under any circumstances during my stay in office.
”I want to make it clear that no such financial improprieties as contained in the report existed in the administration I superintended over. These figures are non-existent and are a product of the imagination of the authors of that report.”
He said the report proved right his earlier suspicion that Governor Samuel Ortom was desperately looking for any flimsy justification to ridicule him before the public for political gains.
The ex-governor added: “The probe panel was a wild goose chase.
How could the state government probe the eight years of our administration from the first day to the last day in office? Does it mean everything we did in office as an elected government with the popular mandate of the people was wrong? Does it mean we didn’t have the mandate as an elected government to execute projects or deliver on our promises?”
He claimed that the achievements of his administration “were verifiable and very much on ground for all to see.”
Suswam said he transformed the rural economy through the provision of roads, bridges, electricity, water projects, health and educational facilities.