[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ot less than 22 law makers of Benue State House of Assembly are reportedly coughing out millions of Naira, which they allegedly allocated to themselves as personal loans for purchase of Toyota Landcruiser Prado SUV.
When hosting youths of Turan in Kwande local government council in Makurdi recently, the state governor, Samuel Ortom, revealed that 22 legislators, who were expected to refund N317 million to the anti- graft agency, had started doing so.
He said the refund was necessitated by the shoddy manner in which the loans were disbursed to the lawmakers.
The governor regretted that the process fell short of best practices required in such financial transactions.
Ortom explained that out of the number, 12 legislators were from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while 10 were from the All Progressive Congress (APC).
He regretted that the due process was jettisoned in the car purchase contract which led to the lodgments of cash deposits into the accounts of the legislators for the purpose of direct purchase of the cars.
“After the Executive Council approved the contract for the procurement of Prado Jeeps for the assembly members, only eight were procured.”
He said the contractor blamed his inability to purchase the remaining 22 vehicles on the high cost of the Dollar.
“Instead of the contractor to get back to the government, he decided to meet the members directly, who opted for cash.
“The EFCC after studying the contract document ordered the 22 members, who collected cash to refund the money to the commission as due process was not followed”.
EFCC had over the past one month, played host to Benue legislators, including its leadership, in their role in the loan disbursement saga.
Ortom also assured that his former amnesty boss, Terwase Akwaza, who was fleeing from arrest over his alleged role in the killing of his security aide would be arrested and brought to book.
He said more than 60 of his gang members had been arrested for various crimes in the state.