The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFC ) has been given a 14-day ultimatum to commence the prosecution of the Minister for Special Duties, Sen. George Akume.
The ultimatum was handed over by some youths in Benue State, under the umbrella of Benue Youths Forum, BYF. They also have the same ultimatum to other anti-graft agencies, alleging that the Minister looted the sum of N4.5 billion.
The Benue state government recently petitioned anti-graft agencies in the country to investigate the former lawmaker over alleged financial impropriety amounting to over N4,5 billion naira when he served as Governor of the state.
According to the petition, the alleged financial fraud which ranges from misappropriation of public funds, abuse of office, approvals above limit also include sale of 33,440,818 units of shares at the Benue Investment and Property Company, BIPC, also valued at billions of naira without recourse to due process.
The state government claimed that the alleged financial crime was generated from an audit report spanning 1999 – 2007 during the tenure of Akume as the state governor.
Following the allegation, Benue Youths, during a press conference on Wednesday, lauded Governor Samuel Ortom on his courageous move to unearth the alleged financial crime.
President of the group, Terrence Kuanum, who addressed the press, urged the state governor not to rely on anti graft agencies alone but involve legal actions by seeking redress in court.
He said, “We received with relief, the news that the Benue State Government, after a thorough audit, has taken steps to seek justice by inviting the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the looted funds of the State Government during Senator George Akume’a tenure as Governor.
“We salute the courage of Governor Samuel Ortom for standing with the people of Benue once again to recover what rightfully belongs to them, especially at this time of dwindling funds from the federation account.
“In 1999 when Akume became Governor, the Naira was exchanging with the Dollar at N21.89 only. Imagine the value of N4.5 billion at that time and what impact such a large amount of money would have had on the Benue economy now, if it had not been diverted by the Akume administration.
“State funds are public funds that belong to all of us and any one who presides over our public funds should be willing to be accountable for his actions,” he said.