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Tinubu, DSS, EFCC Receive Petition To Probe Alleged N20 Billion Diversion Under Alia’s Govt

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The Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN) has submitted a petition to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Department of State Services (DSS) regarding the alleged misappropriation of N20 billion in local government funds in Benue State.

The petition, dated Tuesday, 20th February 2024, urged the President and the concerned authorities to promptly apprehend Dennis Akura, the Special Adviser to Benue Governor Hyacinth Alia on Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, along with others involved in the alleged embezzlement of public funds.

GICN accused Akura and his associates of orchestrating the misappropriation and diversion of around N20 billion in total Federal Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) funds designated for Benue State’s 23 Local Government Councils between June and November 2023.

The pro-democracy civil society organization alleged that the LG Bureau, under Governor Alia’s leadership, has been utilizing its staff and privately owned businesses to divert funds meant for the state’s local governments.

GICN further mentioned that it had been presented with a multitude of complaints and evidence from whistleblowers indicating that the Special Adviser to Governor Alia on Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs was being used as a channel for serious corrupt activities, extensive fraud, and various wrongdoings, leading to its submission of a petition to the anti-corruption commission.

“From the records attached as APPENDIX 2A and 2B, the aggregate FAAC allocation received in the State Joint Local Government Account (SJLGA), maintained pursuant to Section 162(6) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) for onward disbursement to the 23 Local Government Councils within the period under review totals N55, 897,592,592.81 only.

“Out of the above sum, only N35,849,988,725.37 was disbursed to the 23 Local Government Councils. This left a balance of N20,051,603,867.44, which remains undisbursed, even though the SJLGA is supposed to be a transit account and not a savings account. It happened that Dr Dennis Akura, under the strict directives of Governor Alia, allegedly diverted the aforesaid N35,849,988,725.37 using a staff of the Bureau as well as some companies they have registered mainly for that purpose,” SaharaReporters quoted the group.

The group called on EFCC to guarantee that Akura and the other individuals implicated in the petition face legal consequences.

“The EFCC should not allow any of the persons mentioned in this petition to benefit from their own wrongdoing, if fiscal accountability and transparency must be restored in Benue State. We have absolute belief that the leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR has zero tolerance for any form of corruption capable of inflicting hardship on the masses and sabotaging the economy of Nigeria as a whole,” it stressed.

In the petition consisting of 17 paragraphs, the organization included evidence of fund transfers from different Local Government Council accounts to the personal accounts of Bureau staff and companies.

The lawyers thoroughly investigated and provided detailed information on the owners of each company, along with documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

Global Integrity Crusade Network called on the anti-corruption commission to ensure that if the Benue State officials are found guilty, they must repay the stolen funds as a warning to others.

“We hereby pray, pursuant to our statutory obligations to expose corrupt practices under Section 24(d) and (e) of the 1999 Constitution (supra) and the Whistle Blowing Policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria, 2016, that you urgently ARREST, INTERROGATE and PROSECUTE the Special Adviser to Governor Hyacinth Iornem Alia on Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Dr. Dennis Akura together with all his cronies for the serious offences they have committed,” the petition read in part.



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