Former Commissioner of Agriculture in Benue State, Dr. Eugene Aliegba has confirmed before the Justice Elizabeth Judicial Commission of Inquiry that 20 trucks of fertilizer supplied by the contractor Solab Nigeria Ltd to the state in March 2012 was substandard.
Testifying before the Commission, Dr. Aliegba explained that he was aware of the laboratory analysis report from the University of Agriculture Makurdi and that of ABU Zaria and had advised the state government against accepting the fertilizer while the contractor was ordered to replace it because it was harmful.
Answering questions on the N2 billion ecological fund during his tenure as Commissioner for Urban Development and Environment, Dr. Aliegba explained that the money was not sent to his office as it was handled by the State Ministry of Finance.
On the N500 million received by the State Government from the Federal Government for the 2012 flood victims in the state, the witness said the N200 million released to the Ministry was handled by the then Director of Engineering Engr. Nathaniel Alaaga for execution of drainage channel from Kyabiz Hotel to Benue State University Teaching Hospital through direct labour.
Also testifying before the Commission, the Executive Secretary, Benue State Scholarship Board Mr. Solomon Torgba alleged that Sterling Bank Plc Makurdi defrauded the State Government of millions of naira during payment of scholarship to students in 2013.
Mr. Torgba stated that Officials of the Bank were refusing to give him the statement of account until he reported them to Central Bank.
Members of the Commission noted that from the statement of account, some students were paid N2 million but he said he did not authorize such payment.
Also testifying before the Commission, former ADC to former Governor Gabriel Suswam, Mr. Dickson Pawa admitted that he collected the sum of N58.8 million from the State Ministry of Finance on May 21 last year and gave it to his boss Mr.Suswam.
He explained that it was the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance Mrs. Ruth Ijir who directed him to collect the money but he did not know the purpose of the money.
When confronted with the allegation by officials of the Ministry of Finance that what he collected for the Former Governor was N108.8 million, the witness denied collecting the said amount.
He stated that officials of the Ministry may have deliberately duplicated financial documents to cover up the N50 million, part of the N108.8 million alleged to have been given to him.
However, when the Commission confronted him with the signature on the receipted documents earlier submitted by the Permanent Secretary, the former ADC could only affirm appending his signature on only two tranches of transaction against the three presented.
Source: Radio Benue Reports