From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Benue state governor, Gabriel Suswam has ordered an immediate probe into the accounts and transactions of the state’s local government pensions commission following the discovery of missing money amounting to N150 million.
The said amount was reported missing during the tenure of Prince Andy Uwouku as Permanent Secretary of the commission.
Andy Uwouku retired from the Benue State Civil Service recently following directive given by Governor Suswam on all government appointees eyeing the governorship seat to step down.
Investigations showed that the missing amount was diverted by the erstwhile Permanent Secretary and deposited in a slush account he operated with Skye Bank, while the statutory account of the Pensions Commission is domiciled with Keystone Bank.
The matter came up when he was handing over at the commission and immediately the state’s local government pensions board swung into action to investigate the issue.
Consequently, a committee made up Of chairman of the Local Government Pensions Board who doubled as its chairman, State Chairman Local Government Service Commission, Comrade Richard Gbande, Permanent Secretary in the Bureau for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chairman of the state’s chapter of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Permanent Secretary for Establishment, and a representative of the Bureau of Internal Affairs and Special Duties are members was constituted.
After thorough investigations the board in its report, indicted Prince Andy Akaayar Uwouku and forwarded its findings to the Governor of the state who in turn directed the Head of Service of the State Mr. Terna Ahua to investigate the matter and submit his findings to him
The Head of service, according to findings, has since constituted an administrative panel to probe the tenure of Prince Andy Uwouku as Permanent Secretary at the Local Government Pensions Commission.
Andy Uwouku, a 2nd cousin of Governor Gabriel Suswam is running for the governorship of Benue State in next years general elections, and he was prior to his being posted to the pensions commission, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, during which time, there was scandal of diversion of huge quantities of fertilizer meant for farmers in the state.