More facts have emerged how former Benue state Governor, Gabriel Suswam aided the defrauding of the state in Internally Generated Revenue, IGR running close to half a billion naira.
It is not clear how much of this may have been carried out against the state in other sectors through this official conspiracy.
Investigations reveal that from 2007 to 2015, Suswam as the governor of Benue state, deliberately aided other officials in his government in bleeding the state of revenue through official negligence and deliberate policy more than anyone else in the past.
Incidentally, the former governor’s tenure ended on a sour note as his administration could hardly meet financial obligations to civil servants where salaries, allowances, pension and gratuity were owed upto 12 billion naira.
Available records indicate that the former governor recklessly approved waivers on land charges to his wife, Arc Yemisi Suswam, family, friends and political associates at the detriment of the poor financial status of the state amounting to over N500 million.
Not withstanding the dwindling revenue that accrued to the state, Governor Suswam indulged in flagrant abuse of his offace by indiscriminately approving waiver applications.
In one of such waiver letters with Ref No: Q/26/XIII/5 dated 26th May, 2015 and signed by Eugene Ivase, former Permanent Secretary, Governmnet House administration to the former Commissioner of Lands and Survey, the former governor approved the waiver of land charges in favour of Sev-Av Foundation, a supposedly non profit organisation floated by his wife to the tune of over N30.9 million.
The letter, entitled: Re: Application for Waiver of Land Charges reads: “His Excellency, the executive governor of Benue state, Rt. Hon. Gabriel Suswam, PhD, CON has approved waiver of land charges amounting to N30,932,800.00 (Thirty Million, Nine hundred and thirty two thousand, eight hundred naira) only in favour of Sev-Av Foundation.”
Ivase concluded in the one page letter which was copied to the coordinator of the Sev-Av Foundation, “find His Excellency’s approval on the attached copy of the letter dated 11th May,2015, please.”
It was learnt from officials of the Ministry of Lands and Survey that many of such waiver letters were sent to the land registry thereby robbing the state off in revenue that would have impacted positively on the development of the state.
Sources in the ministry of finance, agriculture and works gave hints of similar flagrant abuses encouraged by the past administration thereby siphoning monies that would have come into the state coffers as revenue to personal pockets of family, friends and political hangers on who were patronised just to keep the state perpetually broke and at the whims of the former governor and his allies