By Emmanuel Antswen/Makurdi
Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, Federal Public Complaints Commissioner of the Federation, overseeing Benue state has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing Gov Samuel Ortom of “executive recklessness” and privatisation of the state.
The 10-page letter dated May 16th titled ” Whistleblowing: Stagnation of Benue State” was addressed to Gov Ortom and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Makurdi. Copies were also sent to all the anti-graft agencies in the country.
Tsav in the letter accused Gov Ortom of “corruptive nepotism and executive recklessness” by placing his family business, Oracle Business Limited above the state. He said this represents a conflict of interest.
“On 12th July, 2015, your brother who is the CEO, Oracle Business Ltd, Mr. Michael Ortom wrote a letter congratulating you on your electoral victory as Governor of Benue state.
“In the same letter he presented a proposal for the supply of thirty (30) units of Toyota Prado Jeeps Model Fx –2014 as Government official vehicles at the cost of N18, 000, 000 per unit, amounting to N540, 000, 000 (Five Hundred and FortyMillion Naira).
“This was not advertised and there was no open bidding, but you approved and directed the SSG on 17th July, 2015 to treat. No due process was followed. This was the same executive recklessness that led the former Governor of Adamawa State to a five year jail term.
“On 15th October, 2015, in a letter no. SSG/CONF/1520/VOL.1/13 o 15TH October, 2015, your SSG directed the Honourable Commissioner for Finance to pay the sum of N540, 000, 000 to Oracle Business Ltd for the supply of the 30 Prado SUV’s.”
Tsav who was also the former Lagos State Commissioner of Police said that On 18th October, 2015, the Governor himself (you) directed the Accountant General in writing to pay this sum, reinforcing the earlier approval of the SSG in his letter quoted above.
The whole affair is messy, clumsy and depicts Nepotism cum corruption, Tsav said and accused the governor of using his office to force government to patronize his his private businesses.
The letter also disclosed that one of the governor’s In-laws has also won a contract for cleaning Benue Government House.
He claimed that at the moment, there are no ongoing government projects in the whole state as it is being privatised to Oracle Business Limited.
He also accused the governor of using the Holy Bible to exploit the people of Benue state.
“Nothing is happening in Benue state and the whole state looks like a town devastated by war. You cannot use the Bible on one hand and criminality on the other to exploit Benue people if you are truly a man of God. This is arrant selfishness and greed. Please pay workers their legitimate rights if you claim to be a man of God.”
Tsav also accused the governor of using his office to hijack a humanitarian project, “Feed Mill Factory” meant for the state. The retired police officer claimed Ortom had incorporated the mill into his family company, Oracle Business Limited
“Recall that in 2015, a delegation of the foundation led by one Jacob Mignouna arrived Benue state and held discussion with you with a view to setting up a state of the art Cassava peel factory for production of Animal feed.
“He reportedly signed an MoU with the government of Benue state and you signed on behalf of Benue state. According to reports, the government paid an unspecified amount as counterpart funding for the take off of the project “which was setting up of an ultra –modern”Feed Mill Factory for livestock feeds.
“This business being a humanitarian project was offered free or at minimal costs for the benefit of the people of Benue state; but this was not to be. It is understood that you used your influence to hijack this project and integrate it to Oracle farm. This project is now located amongst your companies at Industrial Layout on Naka Road, Makurdi.
“This factory is equipped with the following machines; Graters, Hammer Mill, Pressers, Hydraulic jack, sieving machine and fryers with the deal facilitated by Philip Consultancy and Synergos Consultancy.
“The factory is now fully operational as a business entity of Oracle Business Ltd, wholly owned by your family company with sixteen (16) Chinese nationals working in your farm, contrary to the intentions of the donors.”
The letter further claimed that a similar project is ongoing in Kogi State but the Kogi Governor has not hijacked it as his personal concern.
Tsav said the mill in Kogi is located in Ojapata in Ankpa LGA and is being run by the Kogi State Government in partnership with Agriculture and Core delivery team.
Chairman, Oracle Business Limited, Mr Michael Ortom failed to keep to interview appointments and reply text messages.
But Chief Press Secretary to Gov Samuel Ortom, Mr Terver Akase in a reaction said: “I don’t think a government medium like NAN should be promoting stories from the likes of Abubakar Tsav whose only mission is to bring down the present administration. A government medium like NAN should be more interested in telling the people what government is doing to better their lot and getting feedback from them. It is for that noble purpose that NAN is funded with taxpayers money, not to create strife in the polity.”
Read the petition here: Tsav’s petition to Governor Ortom